Thursday, May 03, 2007

Urban Farmers

We dug and sifted
dug and sifted,
unearthing artifacts
from the World's Fair.

Brown linoleum
and sea-green tile
filled our pockets.
Rocks filled our buckets
and wheel barrows too.

Piles upon piles
of round, spotted stones
sprouted everywhere.

Cigar-sized worms
lived among them,
a treaure of our labor.

As we dug and sifted
dug and sifted,
piles upon piles
of moist dark earth
surrounded us.

I wrote this poem in May of 1996 and read it at the opening ceremony for the Queen Anne P-Patch. Some city officials were there and it was a lovely sunny afternoon. But, I must explain a bit about this poem's inspiration. The plot that was designated for this community garden was covered with blackberry bushes, and at one time the dumping ground for debris collected while building the Space Needle for the 1962 World's Fair. Thus, all the interesting stuff we discovered and hard work it entailed. I've also included this for Poetry Thursday. Thanks to all of them!


Cergie said...

I wonder if you were surprised when you read this poem recently
I presume it was such as it was written by somebody else
I like when poem speaks as yours of simple things

Today I posted a text which is a prayer that my brother found when our father disappeared. My father worked for forest and wood Ha was "conservateur des Eaux et Forets"
It is difficult for me to explain his job, however he had this prayer to the forest

"Man I am the heat of your hearth during the cold nights of winter, the friendly shade when the sun of summer burns. I am the frame of your house, the board of your table. I am the bed in which you sleep and the wood of which you make your ship I am the handle of your hoe and the door of enclosed tone. I am the wood of your cradle and your coffin.
Listen to my prayer: do not destroy me..."

I like your so simple drawing too, with soft colors

Rob Kistner said...

Very, very cool poem GZ!

Before I read your explanation, my first read of the piece took me to an encounter in the future -- our present, their past, being unearthed.

A statue-of-liberty-in-the-sand, planet-of-the-apes kinda thing.

I'm going to hold that first impression in my mind. I liked it.

--and so it goes--

Rob Kistner said...

I lingered at your site and realized you're in Seattle. I'm slow sometimes.

I'm Portland. Nice sharing the great Pacific Northwest with you! :)

--and so it goes--

Rose Dewy Knickers said...

It's the funniest thing. I read your words and I can smell the earth and see the worms. Very neat. :)



Lord of Erewhon said...

It's a fine poem.

Tammy said...

Very cool! I'm dying to know all the goodies you found :) Wonderful.

polona said...

oh, this has such a lovely feel to it!

Regina Clare Jane said...

Cigar-sized worms! Wow! Are you being literal or figurative here? I hope figurative because I would be heading for the hills!
Anyhoo- enough of my fear of worms... it was a very nice poem and I am glad you ended up with the beautiful dark earth so conducive to growing!

poetmama said...

I love this poem and the "dug and sifted" repetition and the feeling of digging up the past. I can almost smell the earthy treasures. . .

strauss said...

How interesting. Thanks for the background, you wee like unsuspecting archeologists.

LJCohen said...

"Piles upon piles
of round, spotted stones
sprouted everywhere."

Though you wrote this for the opposite coast, it could be as true for Massachusetts. My husband is a frustrated urban farmer and he spends all spring muttering about the stones here.


get zapped said...

cergie- what a touching poem, filled with the beauty of nature and how much she gives us. I'm sorry to hear that happened to your Father. Yes, this was fun to pull out and read again. It is that time of year ;) And the drawing was such fun. Usually the picture inspires the poem, but this time is was the other way around. Peace to you and yours...

rob- you made me laugh and keep your's so fun! Ah, Portland another wonderful PNW city!

rose- heavy scents...

Erewhon- thanks!

tammy- it's been so long I've forgotten, but as you can see -lots of stones.

polona- I like you touched on the "feel" of it.

regina- they were the biggest worms I've ever seen. I can't recall if they were as big as a full size cigar, but close. Doesn't it give you the willies :)

poetmama- it seems that's all we did!

strauss- yeah, it felt like that to some degree.

LJCohen- I feel for him! Must be that northern/coastal thing.

Masago said...

Love it...great image.

Steve said...

Love the images, the worms and the rich earth. I bet you could put some of your World's Fair artifacts up on eBay! :)

gautami tripathy said...

This poem has that timeless quality.

Imagery is very good.

Writer on Board said...

nice zap, very nice, very very nice

Kai C. said...

very nice...

Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

I loved the cadence of this poem. Peace, JP