My latest new favorite poet is Linda M. Hasselstrom. The below poem (from American Life in Poetry: Column 490) turns a winter planting into cherished memory. It’s alchemical, combining the ingredients of memory and the everyday and transforming them into gold.
It’s not spring yet, but I can’t
wait anymore. I get the hoe,
pull back the snow from the old
furrows, expose the rich dark earth.
I bare my hand and dole out shriveled peas,
one by one.
I see my grandmother’s hand,
doing just this, dropping peas
into gray gumbo that clings like clay.
This moist earth is rich and dark
as chocolate cake.
Her hands cradle
baby chicks; she finds kittens in the loft
and hands them down to me, safe beside
the ladder leading up to darkness.
her smile, her blue eyes, her biscuits and gravy,
but mostly her hands.
I push a pea into the earth,
feel her hands pushing me back. She’ll come in May,
she says, in long straight rows,
dancing in light green dresses.
I really love the last line “dancing in light green dresses.”, it makes me think of little fairies dancing in her garden come spring.
I also love the simile
“This moist earth is rich and dark
as chocolate cake.”
It paints the perfect picture of soil in its perfect state for planting.
The full article can be found by clicking here.