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Setting operates on two distinct levels in this poem. In a literal sense, the poem takes place at the poet’s writing desk, where the speaker sits with pen in hand, drafting the very poem we are reading. This is the present tense of the poem, which the speaker describes in the opening stanza: “Between my finger and my thumb / The squat pen rests” (lines 1–2). As the speaker looks out a window to watch his father tending flowers in the garden below, the poem shifts backward in time to a moment “twenty years away” (line 7). Now, his father sows potatoes. At this point, the poem’s setting seems to shift from an indoor space to an outdoor space. That is, the setting moves from the speaker’s office to an agricultural landscape. This rural landscape remains central for the rest of the poem, though in the sixth stanza it shifts to a place known as “Toner’s bog” (line 18). Arguably, however, the scene doesn’t shift outward from the speaker’s office to the landscape of his childhood. Instead, the scene shifts inward from the speaker’s office to the realm of his personal memory, which is where these scenes of rural labor really play out.