Tuesday, May 25, 2010

'Victory Garden, 1945'

I was recently sent two books of poetry by American poet and scholar Jeff Daniel Marion.

As I finish up the manuscript for The Mystery of the Garden, this poem caught my eye.

The rediscovery of gardens, later in life, rings true with me, as well as the rhythmic lines on harvest and cooking.

It's also a fascinating vision of recent, but already evaporated, Anglo-American history.

"My mother bends in the row,
lifts hoe to chop another
weed, remembers when her man
ahead, bent to bucket's heft,
was the boy who swore no more
sweat off his brow to plow down
rows, no more nettles to sting
like bees needling barefoot arch
no more breaking his back for
a measly mess of greens, beans
by the bushel to break, string
until fingers go numb, no.
Just look at us now, loving
what once we hated, far off
from mountains on this flat
patch of dirt they let us tend,
my mother muses. Father picks
greens, basket brimful, his feast
already a taste he can
savor, pot liquor stewed long,
seasoned right, smelling of home.
My father bends in the row,
beans blooming, promise of more."

Jeff Daniel Marion, 'Victory garden, 1945', Letters Home (Abingdon, VA: Sow's Ear Press, 2001).


genevieve said...

Lovely poem, thanks, Damon!
Your book sounds interesting too.

Damon Young said...

Well, thanks, Genevieve.

I do hope the book's interesting - ask me again once I've heard from my editor.