Sunday, April 25, 2010
Last Farm: Food Revolution
Our people have been farmers
since before the wheel was invented.
My garden is only two lengths of my shovel
and I may get one pint of strawberries--
if I’m lucky. I’ve planted pumpkins for years
they never grow any fruit.
Do you wanna know what hurts?
They didn’t leave a note.
They could read and write couldn’t they?
They had dreams, values, even a vision or two?
They tramped swamps, rode prairie wagons,
sailed across the ocean, fought in religious
wars over what age was appropriate for Baptism,
but they didn’t leave a note.
Stick to the land
Be strong in the Faith
Hold close to your family
I mean, the magic of paper and pen
is that you have a time machine for
a fairly low cost. Leave a note
for your great-great grandchildren--
if you want.
Save them the trouble of guessing what
life is all about. You can share eighty years of knowledge
with them for as much room as you have paper.
But to write nothing seems rude
Didn’t they have anything to pass on?
And now in the frightening age of the droid phone
and global warming, I can look back at those simpler
times and what?
Thanks for the pickle recipe, Gram.
Maybe they didn’t know it would end.
Maybe as the last farm sold, they thought
it might turn around again, somehow.
R.B’s farm was lost at court.
They were forced to sell it and divide
the sum equally. They brought
a grapevine with them
into town. Brother and Sister never spoke again.
My ex husband’s great-grandfather.
Ended 5,000 years of gentleman pig
farming, burying the Irish family crest with the
shape of a bright red boar underneath
the tarmac at the Philadelphia airport.
I think another farm was lost in Iowa
even before the dustbowl.
Even my grandparents owned a small farm in
Texas for awhile while going to school.
The J.H farm was near Breezewood, PA.
Now the biggest truck stop in the mid-state area.
His ancestors made me a recipe book
for my wedding, though I’d never really met them.
I remember one was for vegetable pizza.
The Southern part of my family?
Must have had a farm in Mississippi somewhere.
The Quilt G.R. made for my mother is blue hubbed
wheels spinning on a pink world.
If she never went far from home,
she was going places in her imagination.
Five generations back a man
left his land to Lily. What happened to that
land and the family of mixed-race
that traveled down the tree to me?
We’ve all wheeled away
on blue-hubbed wheels
down different walks
to a landless land
where I’d never seen a blueberry bush until
I was twenty-one.
Some day, when people learn to fly
without planes. That ol’ tarmac will crumble.
Grass will push right through with ease
where ten ton airplanes couldn’t make a dent.
Out of that crack will pop a vine from great-grandpa’s last
It won’t be genetically mutated;
it will be proud and strong
with five hundred years of energy
built up for this moment.
It will grow the largest pumpkin this world
has ever seen. All of us kids will drive out to see it.
The first vegetable in a hundred years.
They will slice it open and inside the pumpkin
will be enough pure whole pumpkin seeds to send
all over the earth…
While we are about to make 1,000 pumpkin
pies and re-invent Thanksgiving, we will find…
a note carved on one of the seeds.
The note will read:
This was not the last farm.
Fight the good fight,
Keep the faith,