Open Heart Farming 2015

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ISSN 2369-2944

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Anthony Arsenault I Am Seed

Leslie Anne BatemanAdam’s Peas and Carrots

Jenni BlackmoreStark

Lois R. Brison-BrownThe Perfume of Years

Edith CroftThe Farm Kitchen

Ron Gillis Bountiful Table

Aaron EissesThe Bay of Fundy

Scot JamiesonGhost of the Valleys

Robin JohnstonA Pickled Poem

Scott LynchKiwi

Sylvia MangalamLate May, Nova Scotia

Mike McFetridgeAn Old-Time Farmer

Catherine Rubinger Signs of Spring

Berendina P. SaundersSpring Sonnetteer

Bernard SoubryMoving Poem #6

Mary Ellen SullivanGroundhog Hole

Ginny WangFood?

Art WhiteOur First Cow

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I Am Seed
Poem by Anthony Arsenault
Halifax NS

Buried in the earth, I am seed
The sun is out there, I can feel it
My roots gather moisture, giving strength
My head emerges, I need to stretch

the outside world, I want to see
To its limits, I push the earth
unrelenting I struggle, I must endure
Reaching out, there must be light soon

The earth is broken, I’ve made it
The Sun welcomes me, a warm embrace
My arms open, I take her warming heat
Now I grow, to nourish others

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Adam’s Peas and Carrots
Poem by Leslie Anne Bateman
New Glasgow, NS

Adam, it won’t be long now
Until you plant your peas and carrots
In the cool, damp earth
That clings to your fingers,
As you shape the soil with your gentle hands.

The sun kisses your cheeks,
And your freckled smile warms the space
Where you place your seeds,
One by one;
Then, you tuck them in,
With the hope of spring’s awakening.

And then I watch you, just as you watch
The canvas of our little garden
Come to life with fragrant sprouts,
And humming bees, and busy ants;
You quench your thirsty seeds, and make room
For them to take their place in the world.

In the stillness of the summer afternoon,
You marvel at the ringlet tendrils
Clinging to the frame you built with daddy’s help,
And run your hand over feathers of new born green;
The delight of the harvest, now a distant dream,
Will be here and gone before the next moon comes.

But for tonight, as you go to bed,
With snow still outside your frosty window,
Sleep well;
For you will soon be under summer skies,
Tending your peas and carrots.

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Poem by Jenni Blackmore
Seaforth, NS

Black pen scratches
on the page of winter white.
I touch, searching to feel
quivers of knowingness
wanting to secure promises
of buds, blossoms, berries
clustered beads with smooth dark skin
and musky scent
Who can know the when or if?
Their mute reply.
There are no guarantees.
And to assuage the fear
Of equinoctial stagnation
I clutch the jar of purple jam
my only proof of yearly miracles.

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The Perfume of Years
Poem by Lois R. Brison-Brown
Halifax/Cheverie, NS

How pungent in my palms
Are the leaves I knead
At the kitchen counter,
Crushing the hope of the harvest
Of herbs from foliage and stem
For the coming winter.

The spears from the spade of rosemary
Wait to spike December’s turkey,
Subtle lemon basil sublime with
Frozen summer’s catch,
Reliable bay and basil at every meal
Like salt and pepper.
Starry eyed dill peeks through the glass
Of bottled cucumbers.
Noble thyme, remembering its roots in English soil,
Only appears for ceremony.
Aggressive oregano bulling across the dooryard,
Its purple flowers trailing bees,
Now lies scythed and bailed for sauce.
Velvet leafed sage belying it sharpness
And always swags of summer savory
For hearty stews.

But as I grind leaves to powder
I sense the presence of my many
Grandmothers before me
Standing at this mortar, too.
And the perfume of years
Pounds through the pestle
Like prayer lifting heavenwards
From my pressing hands.

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The Farm Kitchen
Poem by Edith Croft
Halifax, NS

Baking day on the farm was hard work.
Hunger doesn’t take a holiday.
The damn flies droned and sang their delight.
Mosquitoes struck like viper.
Heat in the kitchen was like
a dragon’s breath.
I remember sweat careening
down the body in sticky rivulets.
The ceaseless toil detracted from
the otherwise unique smells
unique to breads baking, and
bubbling beans flavoured with
mustard, molasses and onion combinations.
Stewed apple sauce pungent
with hint of nutmeg spice.
Cursed be the damn flies
and the merciless heat
as the wood stove demanded
cords of split wood.

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Bountiful Table
Poem by Ron Gillis
North Sydney, NS

My table is laden, with harvest sown.
Asparagus to rhubarb, radishes overflowin’
an extra leaf for tomatoes, chives.
Fiddleheads, garlic, potatoes, with eyes.
Brussel sprouts, apples, cantaloupe, cherries
Cauliflower, endives, maybe more berries.
Parsley, parsnips, peaches, pears.
Rutabagas, beans to round out my fare.
Before laying down pen, would be remiss,
not to mention Mr. Pumpkin, on side table does sit.

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The Bay of Fundy
Poem by Aaron Eisses
Halifax, NS

I have kept rhythm since the beginning of time
I affirmed the extinct with acts of attrition
I open my mouth to accommodate titans
I nurture the schools in my swells

You think to light your journey is my reward
You endeavour to harness my fury
You continue to exploit my bounty
You frame walls to contain my deluge

I was here before you could walk
I cultivate the furrows of the sea
I feed the colossus of the sky
I am paramount on the earth

You expelled my companion
You renounce my majesty
You raid my children
You tremble at my swell

I move the earth
I import the fertility
I nurture creation
I tolerate you

Let me flow, set me free
When I am free, you will grow

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Ghost of the Valleys
Poem by Scot Jamieson
Halifax, NS

Although exhorted on all sides
to attain the heights of everything,
you are prone to the attractions
of the low; for in the lowly and
quiet valleys grow the trees,
the bushes, and there the wind bends
the rainy rushes. Certain tendrils
flourish in the valley of infirmity,
nourished in its soil of uncertainty.

The peaceful river is wending there
and ever is flowing the soft air to the
edge of our world where in a dim blur
is observed

a ghost child dancing a round, a round,
his candle enhancing the fulsome face
of his ticking watch. And if its numbered
circumference should turn into a ring
round a moon someday hence,
he’d have danced much, and have
at his touch the ball of it all.

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A Pickled Poem
Poem by Robin Johnston
Tatamagouche/Halifax, NS

Chop up your veggies,
Whichever you please.
Then mix them with salt,
Fermentation’s a breeze!

Get your hands in there,
And get the juice flowing.
Pack it all into jars,
Soon the bubbles will be going!

Wait for a while,
Then give them a taste.
Eat em slow, eat em fast,
Don’t let a drop go to waste!

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Poem by Scott Lynch
Waverley, NS

hairy little
brown and scary
ovoid thing
yet when
by chance you
open up
my mouth begins to sing
you bring me smiles
and pangs of joy
your luscious tart
and juicy green
black spotted heart
keeps taste buds keen
such a splendid
freak of nature
how could anybody
hate ya?

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Late May, Nova Scotia
Poem by Sylvia Mangalam
Bedford, NS

Frothy petticoats,
Foam the forest’s feet.
Swallows call, lambs bleat.
Prune! Plow! Plant! Weed!

Tropic scent of maples, tropic heat.
Despite consuming focus on
Mere belly greed,
The thought takes root:
The world is more than ‘eat’!

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An Old-Time Farmer
Poem by Mike McFetridge
Middle Musquodoboit, NS

His walk was slow and rough;
He looked like he may fall;
He remembered that day long ago,
The bull and he in the stall;
Both younger then, and stronger,
But the bull soon had him down;
Crushed against him as he fell,
Now his legs, no longer sound.

He wondered as he worked
Alone on the family farm;
Why did he bother to carry on?
As he stood there in the barn
He thought about his children;
They no longer lived at home;
Their jobs were in the city,
Leaving his wife and he alone.

Maybe the time was over
For the once-common family farm;
Who’ll grow the food, he thought
As he painfully left the barn;
His wife was waiting for him;
He loved her, wouldn’t harm her,
So thoughts he had, kept to himself,
Just a tired, sad, oldtime farmer.

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Signs of Spring
Poem by Catherine Rubinger
Halifax, NS

In Nova Scotia flowers and buds
Are not spring’s very earliest signs,
But a sudden colourful blossoming
Of optimistic washing lines.

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Spring Sonnetteer
Poem by Berendina Piets Saunders
Dartmouth, NS

Knee deep in freshly fallen snow
Frozen ice turning trees deadly black
I listen to the woeful cawing of hungry crows

But there a streaked sparrow ‘tweets’ his amorous call
Match stick legs clamped onto bare bush
Is that a reply to his rouse for love?

Soon new seeds are scattered onto these bleak fields
Sunshine warming the soil will break them open
Tiny red buds want to turn into red rosehips.

Amid alpine snow piles the farmer gauges new crops
Yes after numbing winter spring brings new hope
Fresh growth, promising new life for all of nature.

Trust in earth’s solar cycles for
They warm all creatures encouraging novel beginnings
First only requiring a shedding of the old.

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Moving Poem #6
Poem by Bernard Soubry
Centre Burlington, NS

So many here have thought this house was theirs.
The spider in the bathroom shakes its jaws
At me when I sit down to shave; the dog
Still growls when I come through the kitchen door;
And when the rooster rushes me, I swear
It’s aiming for my eyes. Today we tore
Two hundred long-deceased tomato plants,
Their stalks as thick as bone, out of the soft
Brown belly of the greenhouse; some held on
So tight I was thrown back into the dirt
By their breaking, half-plant in hand. I laughed,
But then I’m not that different: watch me snarl
When someone takes my dinner plate, or talks
Of coming winter; cleans up after me, or sits
Content in sunlight, drinking from my cup.

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Groundhog Hole
Poem by Mary Ellen Sullivan
Halifax, NS

Six of us dripping from the pool lesson How
Not to Drown poking shoving joking
tumbling in the back seat of the station
wagon Mom yelling KEEP IT DOWN!
driving down our rollercoaster hill HEY LOOK
THERE’S DAD on the other side driving
the tractor across the hill

brakes scream head hits window arm hurts

the tractor is tipping over and

always saying keep away from the auger
it will pull you in and take your arm
and maybe all of you be careful
on the bales don’t walk
across the rafters

he is jumping….clear he is flying
………………….towards our…. house

Dad lying on the kitchen cot smiling crying
It was just a groundhog hole,
he says.

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Poem by Ginny Wang
Halifax, NS

Children love the large and juicy strawberry,
They pick a lot of them in a huge basket
that is hard to carry.
They won’t miss the shiny and classic apple,
Its mature color could be more attractive
than the maple.

They also see the beans’ rainbow,
So adorable that it is worth to
take a bow.
The river is invited to a dance
by the fish.
It seems like the celebration will
never finish.

This world’s beauty and life is not only
in children’s eye.
Enjoy the extraordinary food wonders near us
before we die.
What a pity people only eat them,
But ignore the unique living rhythm.

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Our First Cow
Poem by Art White
Dartmouth, NS

He took our cheque and gave us a wink,
Best milk’er now, she’s a once-a-day cow,
in need of a draining right now!
If you know how.

Milking a cow when you don’t know how
isn’t a piece of cake.
An old bossy full to the brim, out on the
grass, next to the road,roped to a stake.

Now’s the time…

So there on the field we knelt and felt
for a spigot on which to pull.
A milker per side, me and my bride,
and soon the bucket was full.

We done good…

Alice patted my head then ran on ahead,
to filter and bottle and set out some dishes.
I praised our old cow in her fresh new mow,
then raised a warm glass with the Missus.

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