View Open Heart Farming 2015
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Anthony Arsenault – I Am Seed
Leslie Anne Bateman – Adam’s Peas and Carrots
Jenni Blackmore – Stark
Lois R. Brison-Brown – The Perfume of Years
Edith Croft – The Farm Kitchen
Ron Gillis – Bountiful Table
Aaron Eisses – The Bay of Fundy
Scot Jamieson – Ghost of the Valleys
Robin Johnston – A Pickled Poem
Scott Lynch – Kiwi
Sylvia Mangalam – Late May, Nova Scotia
Mike McFetridge – An Old-Time Farmer
Catherine Rubinger – Signs of Spring
Berendina P. Saunders – Spring Sonnetteer
Bernard Soubry – Moving Poem #6
Mary Ellen Sullivan – Groundhog Hole
Ginny Wang – Food?
Art White – Our First Cow
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
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,
For you will soon be under summer skies,
Tending your peas and carrots.
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.
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.
The Farm Kitchen
Poem by Edith Croft
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.
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.
The Bay of Fundy
Poem by Aaron Eisses
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
Ghost of the Valleys
Poem by Scot Jamieson
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
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.
A Pickled Poem
Poem by Robin Johnston
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!
Poem by Scott Lynch
brown and scary
by chance you
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
Late May, Nova Scotia
Poem by Sylvia Mangalam
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’!
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.
Signs of Spring
Poem by Catherine Rubinger
In Nova Scotia flowers and buds
Are not spring’s very earliest signs,
But a sudden colourful blossoming
Of optimistic washing lines.
Poem by Berendina Piets Saunders
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.
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.
Poem by Mary Ellen Sullivan
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,
Poem by Ginny Wang
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
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.
Our First Cow
Poem by Art White
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.