Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cultivating Autobiography


This Missouri clay:
it stains my fingers
when it rains;
zero organic matter
requires topsoil,
compost, fertilizer if
anything is to grow:
some of that New Orleans
gumbo mulch cooked
by river floods, swamp-basted;
baked Texas sand;
red cotton dirt from Tara;
crushed Mississippi magnolias;
stomped Languedoc grapes (dry);
spilled Alsatian blood;
Irish emeralds; dirt from under
the fingernails of English tradesmen,
barely emerged yeoman;
Swedish ice; and for the future,
ash from Mt. Fuji.
I plant the seed
someone else bought.

This poem is submitted for the Books & Culture poetry prompt, Writing Poems in Your Own Backyard.

It is also submitted for One Shot Wednesday hosted by One Stop Poetry. To see more submitted poems, please visit One Stop Poetry, which just happens to be celebrating it's first anniversary. The links will be live at 4 p.m. Central time today.

Photograph: Indiana Farm by David Wagner via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.

29 comments:

Maureen said...

My favorite lines from this are the first three. Your "New Orleans / gumbo mulch cooked / by river floods, swamp-basted" is so descriptive an image.

Louise Gallagher said...

I too really like those first three lines.

And the whole poem -- such a pot pourri of soil in your back yard.

L.L. Barkat said...

This is one of your best. I love the specificity! And the end just made me sigh with content, the way I like a poem-end to do. :)

Michael Dodaro said...

Very nice, Glynn. That is the kind of place where you can see for 50-60 miles in every direction, land and sky.

LauraX said...

playful Glynn and rich, rich, rich!

Anthony Desmond said...

love the metaphor usage a lot... great stuff

Brian Miller said...

this carries a great beat to it glynn and travel quite wide in the description of the things needed...plant the seed...

moondustwriter said...

A great reflection on the lives and the work taken tom plant that seed and the life of our ancestors who cultivated
Glynn thank you for the weekly support you give to One Stop and to me - you cultivate goodness

Hugs moonie

poemblaze said...

This is great poetry. I remember the clay soil of Southern Illinois. Sounds very similar.

Beachanny said...

The melting pot in the garden - quite a gumbo. Made me hungry happy! Loved it. Delicious.

Kim Nelson said...

This is utterly fabulous! I am a writer and an avid gardener. I could smell the compost breaking down on the page, feel the loam in my tightened fist. Wonderfully composed piece!

http://www.kimnelsonwrites.com/2011/06/28/the-g-spot

hedgewitch said...

Great use of metaphor. As a gardener in a red dirt state, it made perfect sense, and it works on many levels.

Belinda said...

I enjoyed the way you threaded these places (and ancestral roots?) together in such a cohesive manner. And those last two lines remind me of the continuum of which I am but a small part.

Elizabeth Young said...

What an earthy, humanistic post about the necessity of good soil. My son lived in Franklin and had to bring in truck loads of top soil before he could plant his garden - it's all clay there also!

Fred said...

Glad I checked you out on one-shot. There's a definite freshness to your writing. I really appreciate that. Enjoyed it very much, thanks for sharing:)

S. Etole said...

The last two lines catch my attention.

randallweiss said...

Good job at weaving many different images together.

ayala said...

Great poem and the last two lines captivating.

Mama Zen said...

This really touched me, captured what I feel when I have my hands in the dirt.

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

Well very visual as well as nicely written. I can could see the red mud.

Sean Vessey said...

Love the imagery of this poem. Great write.

monicasharman said...

This is great:
"some of that New Orleans
gumbo mulch cooked
by river floods, swamp-basted;"
I must admit, though---this poem does not make me very hungry. :)

Kerry O'Connor said...

There is just so much I love about this poem, Glynn, starting with the photo, and followed by that glorious line up of fertile places.

C Rose said...

A fantastic recipe created with beautiful imagery. ~ Rose

Jerry said...

Holy Mackeral Glynn...is this what I've been missing. Excellent title. Rich, rich soil of a poem especially after you fertilized it.
The end was like a tributary of your craft. Wonderful...now I need to google the words I don't know...:)

kez said...

definitely identify it as a recipe in a poetic sense ...loved it thank you for sharing

Patricia said...

Better late than never, right?! I totally read this as a recipe that only a Master Chef(poet)could create. Enjoyed this thoroughly... =)

Patricia said...

oops... forgot to say thank you for pointing me to Books and Culture this week. Thanks =)

Marcus Goodyear said...

How in the world could I have missed commenting on my friend's poem?! I pulled a bunch of them to read offline, and forgot to check back on a few about the comments until this morning. Sorry about that.

You know I've got New Orleans on the brain this morning, so I was especially touched by the "New Orleans/ gumbo mulch cooked/ by river floods, swamp-basted." I'll raise a bowl of gumbo to you this week, Glynn.

I have to say that the last lines are what I marked initially: "I plant the seed/ someone else bought." Don't we all? And yet, like fools, we take credit for the miracle of our own growth.

Thank you for sharing your poetry with Books and Culture.