Saturday Night Poetry Blogging

french_leeks_lg

Leeks

Two sticks in drifted snow
mark the trench where I laid the leeks
in cool dirt in October.
Now I dig down through old
frozen crust to damp dark hay
to the thick grey green leaves
of the leeks and pull them
from the piled earth and
shake dirt from their white
hairy roots. They come up
like creatures from under
the ocean. In the half-cold,
half-light the odor of earth
gone all these long months
wraps around me, and it is as if
these leeks have come from
a world where there are great
pleasures of the body, where
the mind grows smaller, where
libraries mold in the dark,
where worms in purple and brown
rule the streets, and the corridors
of power are moist and rich
in a way that radio voices
can’t conceive of, and the talk
is of the thick trunk
of seasons, the nose
of rootedness, the eye
that works its way through,
hair that feels its way,
the skull that follows,
the toad of desire, the beetle
of bone density, the grub
of grief, the larva of longing,
the moon coming up and the quiet
at the end of February.

I pick up the pile of leeks
and carry them to the kitchen.
I wash them clean. I chop them
on the old board. I cook them
in oil and salt. I taste
their great sweetness. I remember
that the earth will hum into spring.

~ Abbot Cutler

Picture found here.

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One response to “Saturday Night Poetry Blogging

  1. I was born (as I later learned) on Easter
    in earliest spring, at noon,
    while snowfall dulled the peals of the churches’ bells
    and stalled the trolleys in drifts.
    I have been on earth, and in time, forty years,
    my father dead nearly half,
    my tears mostly unshed and my eyes dried tight.

    In blue dawn this Easter, I heard new birds sing;
    then, under hay in its trench,
    I found the first asparagus, one thick inch
    of scaley tip, rose and green.
    The stalk had grown round a stone, learning its curve;
    that obstruction left behind,
    the tip was still crooked. The curve was its own.

    Months fit poorly into years; the Church’s moon
    waxes and wanes on paper;
    Easter was later this year, so I’m fully
    my age, among vegetables
    —leeks, asparagus, parsnips—seeking some light,
    or warmth. I walk to the house
    through the shadow of the rose bush, drawn in frost.

    How did the stone get into the trench? How deep
    was it? I didn’t know, I
    was afraid to disturb the root by digging.
    Should I just let the stone lie?
    Should I try to get the stone out of the ground?
    Is the gift of tears useless
    now, bitter and late, the past an empty tomb?

    [Acoaxet, c. 1988]

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