Friday, March 30, 2007

Holy Spirit: Mad farmer

(This post is for Share Cropper who left a comment on the post "Love and power".)

She got a tractor
because she likes to shift,
chug, chug, driving it in unending
S-curves, back and forth
across her family square of field
lustily singing old hymns
How Firm a Foundation and His Eye is On the Sparrow
often belting tunes that Eva sang
at Blues Alley. She plants
flowers: pungent marigolds, vibrant zinnias,
coneflower and Susans for the butterflies
globe thistle for the honey bees
roses because Maria in Nicaragua has to
puts them in with her
vegetables: voluptuous tomatoes, regal corn,
fragrant basil for pesto,
rutabaga for a grandfather,
lima beans because she likes the sound of ‘succotash’
—a bright wiggly patch among
the huge quilt of farms.
As she mucks barefoot through
the sodden field, her
painted toes give a
flashy red smile in
the dark earth.
She turns and laughs
at her footprints,
the curve of her arch
leaving puddles shaped
like her garden rows.
She composts, hauls
in manure, piles on
dead leaves, plunges her
hands till she comes up
with worms. She looks
at death and says, “Now.”
At harvest she
shares a tenth with her
neighbors but with
the rest she feeds the
poor at her table
and fills nursing homes
with the scent of flowers.

4 comments:

Share Cropper said...

Thanks, C. Wish I were able to fill all those nursing homes with flowers. I think the farm is in my blood, and I long to be out digging. I'm laughing at your image of the mad farmer!!!

Cynthia said...

Glad you're laughing! I thought of this poem when I was flying into Ohio with all those quilt-like farms. I wondered how those farmers would feel if someone plowed their farm with S-curves instead of straight back-and-forth. And this poem was born.

Just recently I discovered that the image of the Holy Spirit as gardener/farmer is an ancient one dating back to Hildegard of Bingen, who thought of the Spirit as the "green thumb of God". And I had written the poem years before!

Share Cropper said...

I've posted a picture of my tractor for you!

Share Cropper said...

Write me at marsmoore at suddenlink dot net and we can talk about Mississippi