A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
I communed with woodcock
and pine warblers today,
under a cornflower sky,
all the muted shades of early spring
striping the fields.
I can hear my grandmother’s voice,
You need to put your taters in the ground
’cause the signs is right.
Though I always took her at her word,
I never truly understood her science
until long after she was gone, but lately
I have come to respect her study of the stars,
the astrological systems she relied upon.
Plow the soil under barren signs,
Aquarius, Gemini, Leo,
sow during the fertile,
Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces.
Plant crops that produce their fruits
above the ground at the moon’s waxing,
root crops during its wane.
She not only planted and harvested
by the signs, but weaned her babies,
trimmed her hair, baked cakes and coaxed
many a child away from the edge of fever
when the signs were highest.
While campaigning for president,
Michael Bloomberg said:
“I could teach anybody to be a farmer.
You dig a hole, put a seed in,
put dirt on top, add water.”
Along America’s roadways, stunted corn stalks
tip their tasseled heads, exhausted,
saturated in GMO’s and fusty air.
Who knew the humiliation they would suffer?
I hear my grandmother’s voice, a divination,
Thick rolls the mist, that smokes and falls in dew.
From A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen by Kari Gunter-Seymour (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions 2020).
Kari Gunter-Seymour is the Poet Laureate of Ohio.