Thursday, April 18, 2019

Six heads of lettuce

I’ve never tried growing them
before, but now I’m tending
six heads of butter lettuce, 
watering and fertilizing and
tearing away dead leaves
(not too many yet) and casting
the evil eye on infernal rabbits
(a redundant phrase). 

My six heads of lettuce, soon
to be joined by six tomato plants,
are my nod in the direction 
of local agriculture; in fact,
this is about as local as you
can get: my backyard patch 
of ground 4 feet x 12 feet.
Each day, except when it rains, 
or when I forget, I fill 
my watering can like
Wendell Berry, and I bathe
my lettuces while reciting
the occasional poem. 
My timbered choir is more
like a timbered soloist, aka
the river birch sitting 
in the corner of the yard
a few feet away, dropping 
twigs and small limbs
instead of arias.

I used to work for one
of those giant behemoths
of agriculture so disdained
by Mr. Berry, but I didn’t
mind; I liked his poems
and his centeredness
in place too much. I often
told colleagues to read
his novels and poems
if they wanted to know
what the criticisms were
all about, but they didn’t
seem to mind either.

The editors of Tweetspeak Poetry are hosting a 30-Day, 30-Poem Challenge for Earth Month entitled, appropriately enough, Poetic Earth Month. Today, the featured poem is “Li Po,” and the poetry prompt is to choose a historical or modern-day figure involved with agriculture and compare yourself this figure.

Photograph by Stephanie Moody via Unsplash. Used with permission.

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