Open Heart Farming 2017

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ISSN 2369-2944
Vol 6 – No 1 – Ver 3

You can also read the poems by scrolling down or clicking the titles below.
Click the author’s name to view a short biography (if supplied) and other poems by that author.

Fall in love with the poetry of the  land! ~ Mary Ellen Sullivan
We are delighted to share these poems by Nova Scotia poets. They express food and farm affection, recollections and reflections, humour and calls to action. Open Heart Farming poetry is dedicated to our food providers and all who love to get dirt under their nails.
On behalf of the OHFarming 2017 team,
Mary Ellen Sullivan
Dedicated to those who dream of the day when there will be food for all.

Victor AndrewsGarden of Earthly Light 

Irene Baros-JohnsonLast Garden Crops

Adam Christopher BatemanTom and Ted’s Baking Adventure

Leslie Anne BatemanTransformation

Rick BrisonAccidental Heroes 

Janet BrushEarthworm   

Roger Davies – A Pinch of Pig Shit

Mandy DeGeitLiving Cycle

Ella DodsonHaiku As Tapas

Jasmine Chater– How Would You Like Your Falafel?

Aaron Eisses The Swiss Misses   

Harry GarrisonFood Bank

Heidi Kalyani Untitled 

Kimm Kent Holding Stories        

Joyce BaxterThe Cooking of Lobster

Heather MurrayWeeds On Disturbed Soil    

Chris Nguyan– Pho

Anna Quon– April

Jim StewartEarth

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Tom and Ted’s Baking Adventure
Poem by Adam Christopher Bateman

Let’s make some bread,
Said Tom to Ted.
Could Ned come along?
Said Ted to Tom.
But Ned doesn’t make bread…
He’d rather eat it instead!
So let’s get started,
And be open-hearted.
First we need flour,
And to mix it with power.
Our next assault,
Will be with sugar and salt.
Some oil and water,
Warm, and no hotter!
And last but not least,
We have to add yeast.
You have to be a pro,
To knead the dough.
And form it into shape,
But don’t let it escape!
Then wait for it to cook…
You could read a poetry book!


Can I bake some bread?
Said Ned to Tom and Ted.

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Diamante Poem by Leslie Anne Bateman

Surly, hardened
Unyielding, thirsting, waiting
Canvas, vision . . . determination, life
Growing, giving, sustaining
Prolific, ripe

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Poem by Heidi Kalyani

I feel emboldened
by the astonishing courage of plants
as they poke their tiny green heads
above the soil

Is it faith,
that allows them to burst forth
with such boldness?

It seems a mad disregard for safety,
and a deep embracing of vulnerability,
to come into a Northern spring
tender, naked and green

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Accidental Heroes
Poem by Rick Brison
Fall River

I’m told that Hostas
Those ubiquitous saviors of any darkened garden
Don’t especially love shade
Uncomfortable in the sun’s blazing light
They serve in shadowy corners
Hidden from glamour’s sight
And yet, they all do such a good job in between
That it becomes their fate
To get the least it takes to keep them green
Saints have a reputation for being understanding

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Last Garden Crops
Poem by Irene Baros-Johnson

Because they grow so fast,
Fifty-five years ago, I was
Given radish seeds to plant
In a plot of one of the last of
Manhattan’s Victory Gardens.
In the next rows, I planted the
Seeds for carrots, beets and
Much-less-liked swiss chard.
In shorts, pre-teen Yorkville
Children came two or thee
Times a week, to kneel down
To weed. Fill, heft & sprinkle
Watering pails. Thin just once.
In the shade, we played games
Of checkers, chess, red rover,
Jump rope, joked and talked
Stretch-i-n-g out our patience
As the sun mightily worked.
trying to see what they are made of.
Fear and sadness, terror.
I dig deeper, tearing out the horror
planting the energy.
I plan out in my mind
a tiny greenhouse made of glass.
A shell to keep growth alive

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Living Cycle
Poem by Mandy DeGeit

In the city,
I grow long and lanky.
No roots to be put down.

Of hilly fields.
Come-hither. Each flower dances.
Meadows of green, dotted in colour.

To the country.
Anchored and steady, I grow.
Spreading my leaves, I have arrived.

I find myself.
Sun and rain, my co-workers.
Where everything breathes of new life.

I am here.
Pastures become my infrastructure.
And the city is nothing but a memory.

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Poem by Anna Quon

A spattering of dirt,
buds and blind headed worms
all roiling in the sun’s
great tentacles

the sun
is stronger than the snow
its tentacles
twine bean plants
busting through the earth
like star nosed moles
their little mounds of dirt

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Haiku by Chris Nguyan

Time, love, mom’s kitchen
Rare beef, rice noodles, bean sprouts
Hoisan sauce, chili

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The Cooking of Lobster
Poem by Joyce Baxter

A Maritimer’s duty
Just in case you didn’t know,
Is the cooking of the lobster,
Doesn’t matter where you go.
Any group that’s just bought lobster
Just might put YOU on the spot,
‘cause as much as they might love it
they have a great big pot,
None among them has the answer
None among them has a clue!
So – the Maritimer ‘midst them
“How to cook?” – – they’ll say to YOU.

YOU will ALWAYS have the answer.
Ocean water is the BEST!
But – – in case there is none handy
Table salt will meet the test.
Throw a handful in the big pot
Fill with water half the way.
“Only when it’s really boiling,
(That is what they always say)
Head first in the boiling water!”
Bring to boiling as before
Twenty minutes for the first pound!
Each pound over – add five more.

When the time is up – to test them
Grab a leg – and give a pull.
If it leaves the body easy –
You can eat until you’re full!
May each time you’re having lobster,
Thoughts of family come to mind,
And the pleasure that is brought us
By the MANY ties that bind.

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Poem by Janet Brush

The lowly earthworm – remarkable creature

A child of the city
I found them crawling out of
…..scraggly patches of grass at curb’s edge
Squeezing between rocks on vacant lots
Squirming onto the hot pavement
Sometimes shrivelling up before
…..reaching cool sanctuary in earth

My brother said, if you cut one in half
… will grow into two new worms
I fled when he took out his pocket knife

I didn’t know then what great purpose they serve
…..aerating the soil
……..populating it with helpful bacteria
……..serving as food for robins

The lowly earthworm – remarkable indeed.

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The Swiss Misses
Poem by Aaron Eisses

Husbandry a list forum of art
Animals, people work as one
Sheep, cows, ducks, pigs all used to be grazed
Hot sunny days, green pastures, summer fun
Hail efficiency, modern industry, machine
Husbandry has been lost

High in the mountains the grass grows
On the hill meadows lie in wait
Out of a long barn little droplets walk
Cows, stocky, shiny, adorned with big bells
The able shepherds play symphonies angels enjoy
Husbandry has been found

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Holding Stories
Poem by Kimm Kent
Centre Burlington

In the crevices of every line
in the crease of every fold
beneath each nail
soiled hands
hold stories.

in the removal of every tree
in the contour of every hill
beneath each rock
calloused hands
hold stories.

in the struggle for survival
in the blood of settlement
beneath each harrowed row
lies a seed
with a story.

a seed
in hands holding stories.

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How Would You Like Your Falafel?
Haiku by Jasmine Chater

I’ll have some parsley,
tomatoes, tahini, &
pickled turnips please!

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Poem by Jim Stewart

Rich dirt
Soothing Mud
Solid Ground

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Haiku As Tapas
Haiku by Ella Dodson

Haiku and tapas
Focus senses on small bites,
To taste and savor.

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A Pinch of Pig Shit
Poem by Roger Davies

will become the symbol
of an agricultural reformation:
some little bit of the denigrated —
they had called it the discarded and
archetype of the worthless,
an amount so small
as to be meaningless
lying outside the industrial food

And they had denigrated too the pig,
who never chose
to be concentration camp penned,
nor industrially processed —
pig shit in tailing ponds
of production is terminal for human
and pig–
pig shit carefully
contemplated and rejoined
to life’s cycle, a beginning:

pinch some shit, pinch some seeds,
pray for rain.

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Food Bank
Haiku by Harry Garrison

Beside the river,
necessary sustenance
grows from charity.

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Garden of Earthly Light
Poem by Victor Andrews

The garden should be
The last redoubt
The place to be
With simple creatures

Rabbit cages were changed
For cabinets
Now there’s a dining room
Where he stored hay

The garden should have been
The last redoubt
A Noah’s Ark of sanity
In a world gone mad
So hard to
Figure out

In the garden
It all seemed so

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Weeds On Disturbed Soil
Poem by Heather Murray

I see the old patterns start as you point out
the things that make me feel weak. The weeds start
to expand across the garden, choking out
the vegetables, hiding them from the light,
coating the area in a green haze.
The earth uses weeds to coat its bare soil,
to heal itself.
That hair that doesn’t conform to my braid,
that mark on my face, my neediness.
Comments that cut through me, and plant seeds
of shakiness in my motivation.
I hold these hurtful seeds in my guts,
digging my hands into the soil,
zooming in on them, expanding them,
trying to see what they are made of.
Fear and sadness, terror.
I dig deeper, tearing out the horror
planting the energy.
I plan out in my mind
a tiny greenhouse made of glass.
A shell to keep growth alive

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