Open Heart Farming 2014

View Open Heart Farming 2014

Vol. 3, No. 1, ISSN 2369-2944


Rose Adams – nature morte

Ed Belzer – Resolutions

Lois R. Brison-Brown – The Herd

Aaron Eisses – Identity Lost

Harry Garrison – Good Food

Ron Gillis – Seasons

Scot Jamieson – a kind of moss

Joanne Light – Sweet Salt High Summer

Hughie MacDonald – Oakum and Nails

Courtney Madore – The Seed Flowers the Fruit

Sylvia Mangalam – Indignant Red Apples

Jane Marshall – Longing

Michelle G. McDowall – Pomme Drama

Jaywant Patil – The Earth Says

Felix Perry – Farm Memories

Karen Raynard – Happy Hollow Road

Mary Ellen Sullivan – A Saint for the Farmers

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nature morte
Poem by Rose Adams
Dartmouth and Port Lorne, Annapolis Valley, NS

Each night, cous cous in a narrow Paris cafe,
beside us, an Algerian with a sleek bald northern hemisphere
of a head I longed to touch. He told us of his family lost
as he spooned lamb gravy into his mouth.
Under the sidewalks, skulled catacombs
heaps of vanitas embedded in walls
over which this man walked
every night to eat
and go home.

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Poem by Ed Belzer
Chaswood, NS

I was in junior high when a white-haired man,
Renowned as a hunter of rabbits, squirrels,
and ring-necked pheasants,
Pointed at me and said,
“That one has the eye of an eagle!”
I was in senior high when blackboards
and street signs went out of focus.
Nothing eyeglasses couldn’t fix,
For about two weeks.
New specs worked for another fortnight,
After which I needed contact lenses to get good
Starting in my twenties, transplanted corneas,
topped off with powerful spectacles,
got me through a long stretch—
Until my sixties, when even the Hubble telescope
would do me little good.
By then I’d been farming with heavy horses
For more than half of my life,
Farming with horses so honest that even Mr. Magoo,
as I am sometimes called, could drive them safely.
Farming with horses so huge that even I could see them
and enjoy their beauty.
On a winter night, barn chores finished,
I stopped to listen to the horses chewing their hay,
And I realized that I would not miss the sight of them
as sorely as I would the sound.
So I resolved to take care of my ears.

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The Herd
Poem by Lois R. Brison-Brown
Halifax, NS

Out the white house
Where I was born
And across the barnyard,
Blood spattered
By shorn horns,
My grandfather always came.

Around three
When I was supposed to be
Doing math
Cooped up in class
But watching from the Big Part window,
Counting the free roaming herd instead.

Red Hereford bearing no grudges
Always came ambling
Stragglers, running
From the green upland pasture
To surround the farmer,
My grandfather,
Familiar and trusting,
Receiving their daily blessing.

Pink noses glistening
Tongues twisting
Tails swishing
Throats lowing
And with eyes only for him.

Seemingly willing…

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Identity Lost
Poem by Aaron Eisses
Halifax, NS

The days were hard but the work was honest
There was always work, we survived
Spring was the dawn, autumn the evening
Harmony with the land, stewardship
Modern world, modern farming
Green Revolution

Security, progress
Nitrogen, bountiful
Chemicals, shortcuts
Soil, water negligence
Identity lost

Replenish life in the soil
Biology not chemistry
Reflection on the past, progress
Harmony with technology, stewardship
The days were hard but the work was honest

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Good Food
Haiku by Harry Garrison
Halifax, NS

Food is such a good
idea! Whoever thought
of it was brilliant!

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Poem by Ron Gillis
North Sydney, NS

As spring slips to summer, summer to fall,
Apprehensively waiting cold winter’s call.
First frost of autumn warning indeed,
North wind so frigid pouring in from the sea.

Season of challenge, ice, sleet and snow,
Test of survival, twenty below.
Survive we shall like forefather before,
Till warm breeze of spring, caress seedlings below
Till warm breeze of spring, caress seedlings below.

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a kind of moss
Poem by Scot Jamieson
Halifax, NS

I suspect that the gods have fed
such as I into their human mix
as a kind of moss is included
in many comestibles, to be
what’s called a stabilizer, to fix
the natural tendency of many
products to separate; and that
is, the bottom getting watery
and thin, or dry and packed,
with the top all cream or fat.

We can’t have that.

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Sweet Salt High Summer
Poem by Joanne Light
Halifax, NS

From the back of my home I tumble
to the mouth of the bay’s spilling over
near the gapped teeth of land’s lip ends.

I suck the tender alfalfa from its casing
and share clover nectar with the bees.

My sneakers itch with harvest silt
tramping through beach pea; vetch;
a waft of wild rose intoxicates.

Fresh from the fields,
hay bale worn,
straw shafts sting skin.

I heave hot; groan;
try to keep up with the boys
while yearning for receptive wetness

Leave the panting, take the plunge
and float:
I am water and salt in salt water.


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Oakum and Nails
Poem by Hughie MacDonald
Malagawatch, NS

He moved to a rest home, his last port o’ call
Spent his life on the water from springtime ’til fall
Sailed a boat that he built to withstand August gales
And the only things “store-bought” were oakum and nails

When the herring came in on an early spring dawn
He’d patiently wait and first let them spawn
Then take a harvest with the future in mind
Thinking less of himself and more of mankind

The mackerel and cod were in bounty as well
Salting some for the winter and a little to sell
These customs and methods were tested and true
Passed on from ancestors who practiced them too

His roommate’s a farmer and they get along well
Sharing land and sea stories that they like to tell
Although skin is wrinkled from time and tide
Recollections are plenty and lessons abide

The farmer advised when out in the field
Save the little potatoes as part of the yield
It’s food for the pig and the small ones will do
And late in the fall the pig will feed you

Now please listen in earnest as I tell to you
There is something I want each one to do
Reflect on elders who reminds you of these
And the first opportune, go visit them please

You won’t find a boardroom with figures and graphs
Or logistics reported on memos and drafts
Just old men in their glory sharing past tense
Translating life lessons into common sense

The knowledge and wisdom that they possess
Will teach you and I to get more from less
Now I can’t help but voice as I ponder today
Would resources survive if tethered their way?

He lives in a rest home, his last port o’ call
Spent his life on the water from springtime ‘til fall
Sailed a boat that he built to withstand August gales
And the only things “store-bought “were oakum and nails…

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The Seed Flowers the Fruit
Poem by Courtney Madore
Kings Co, NS

The sun breaks open the day
and the seed begins to give way
while their primordial leaves
begin to stretch up with ease

The rain breaks open the sky
and the thunder begins to cry
quenching the thirst of the roots
and giving life to new shoots

The leaves break open the flower
and the pollen showers the bees
who begin to spread the seed
enabling this plant to breed

The Flower breaks open the fruit
and the farmer puts on her boots
to start the morning harvest
alongside her inner artist

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Indignant Red Apples
Poem by Sylvia Mangalam
Bedford, NS

In the old orchard down the hill
Rosy apples hanging still
Wave their indignant red
Before my eyes
“Why are we left to rot
When people hunger, and have not
Fresh dainties such as we
Hanging sweetly from our tree?”

What flagrant wastrels we!
But even now
Waste creeps up quietly behind
To smother us.
And we are blind
To all the dirt of cleanliness
And all the possibilities
Of good clean mess.

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Poem by Jane Marshall
Halifax, NS

………….Winter apples,
………………made from the thoughts
………….of sparrows.

………….This sadness
………in my chest,
….sweet –

………………grey sky
weighs down

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Pomme Drama
Poem by Michelle Geddes McDowall
Truro, NS

It will be Red and Delicious,
But Granny Smith is so sour.
A Royal Gala event,
In professor Fuji’s honour.
Cortland’s not coming,
he’s headed for Rome.
Pink Lady and McIntosh
will make a Cameo.
Cox is excited
because they’ll be playing Jazz.
Braeburn won’t make it,
But perhaps JonaGold,
Will be kind enough to bring
his Pacific Rose.
One thing is for sure –
all the Wealthy will be there.
Hurry up HoneyCrisp,
grab your coat and let’s go,
We’ll be the only one’s in the Empire
to miss out on the show.

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The Earth Says
Poem by Jaywant Patil
Eastern Passage, NS

You trampling me now.
Surely the day will come,
I will trample you.

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Farm Memories
Poem by Felix Perry
Dartmouth, NS

I remember the smell of the soil
Fresh turned from Uncle’s plow
The ripe pungent smell of manure
Chickens squawking in the yard
Clothes on the line and laughter
Haylofts and hiding in the bales
Red dust and island house parties
Wood stoves and fly paper strips
Old rusty working pick-up trucks
Boiled eggs, sweet cream, butter
Pig rides and barbed wire fences
Two rut roads to lower pastures
Sun beating down, wished for rain
Rooster crowing before the dawn
Kerosene lamps and no TV
Bedtime when the sun goes down
I remember,
and I treasure the memories.

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Happy Hollow Road
Poem by Karen Raynard
Halifax, NS

rode bike on weekends 3 miles to grandparents
farm on happy hollow road
my excitement grew as a grove of spruce
opened into deep blue river snaking meadow
150 year old barn on stone foundation
greeted at the milk house
by old hound dog jed chickens cows wild barn cats
pine hedge between driveway and garage leads to
100 year old farm house
gramp’ s supplement income orange school bus
80 some acres of fences fields woods stone walls
when i handed freshly picked raspberries
grade school teacher gram
giggled like a school girl, “thank you ever so much”
june fields mowed sun baked grass to dried yellow
hay baled gramp on old ’62
tractor 5 of us hung on carts as we rolled
over rocks and muddy ruts bales thrown
and stacked hot sticky up in hay mow
jed’ s bark echoed in the barn
gram with lemonade and cake before next round
we ran in our bathing suits through drumlin hills
into the river after a long day
dad and uncle ken shared childhood moments
away from chores to go swimming and fishing
gramp lit up the livingroom when he told
his jaw dropping roll on the floor
side splitting stories passed down to him born in 1910.

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A Saint for the Farmers
Poem by Mary Ellen Sullivan
Halifax, NS
In memory of Eugene Whelan,
Minister of Agriculture 1972-1984.

I’m seeking a saint for the farmers
And I’m thinking it may be Eugene.
So I’m going to talk with Pope Francis
To convince him that Whelan should be.

When War came he dropped out of high school,
Learned politics from the ground up.
In the field, talking with farmers
And fighting for them in the House.

As a gold-medal farmer and leader
He put Canada on the world plate.
Gorbachev and others were pilgrims
To the farm that he called Holy Shit.

Now I won’t say that all farmers loved him,
Dairy farmers once doused him with milk.
But the marketing boards he created
Gave a fair price to farmers and us.

And I’m sure my dear mother would back me
Always said, “That Eugene, he’s a saint!”
And you won’t need to give him a halo,
He can wear his green Stetson instead!

Pope Francis, please hear this petition
For our country could sure use good news.
And fast-track our Eugene to sainthood
So he’ll keep watch o’er his farmers and grin!

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