GBMB: Vegetables and Politics

First things first: When I went to Benjamin’s blog to get the URL for the link below, I discovered that today is his wedding anniversary, so, Happy Anniversary, Benjamin and Jackie!

Last week for Garden Blogger’s Muse Day, one of my favorite blogs, The Deep Middle — a title I find allusive and alluring, curiously abstract for all the simple geometry of its two main words — turned up with a poem by Tom Wayman, one of my favorites. Reading it brought back to mind the poem below, which indirectly says a lot about why I garden and why my gardening focuses on vegetables. Since I seem unable to put on a pair of shoes these days, much less a sock, without spreading controversy across several oceans, it’s not surprising that this poem is political and will probably raise some hackles.

That’s not my intention. Recent sock wars aside, I’m a pretty peaceful person, and I’m posting this poem not to irritate anyone or preach PC values but because I love it and want to share it. It feels clever and painful and true, and  beautiful.

I’m also not trying to forstall negative comments. If you don’t like it, I’d be curious to know why. (Just wait: after all that build-up, everyone will find it bland and unoffensive. Oh well. It would serve me right.) Enjoy.

Picketing  Supermarkets

Because all this food is grown in the store,
do not take the leaflet.
Cabbages, broccoli, and tomatoes
are raised at night in the aisles.
Milk is brewed in the rear storage areas,
beef produced in vats in the basement.
Do not take the leaflet.

Peanut butter and soft drinks
are made fresh each morning by store employees.
Our oranges and grapes
are so fine and round
that when held up to the light they cast no shadow.
Do not take the leaflet.

And should you take one,
do not believe it.

This chain of stores has no connection
with anyone growing food someplace else.
Do not believe it.

The sound here is Muzak, for your enjoyment,
it is not the sound of children crying.
There is a lady offering samples
to mark Canada Cheese Month.
There is no dark-skinned man with black hair
beside her
wanting to show you the inside of a coffin.
You would not have to look if there was.
And there are no Nicaraguan heroes
in any way connected with the bananas.

Pay no attention to these people.
The manager is a citizen.
All this food was grown in the store.

Tom Wayman, 1974

2 Responses to GBMB: Vegetables and Politics

  1. I’m beginning to think Tom Wayman might be my new hero.
    ——————
    Ain’t he great?
    –kate

  2. Good poem/great poet. Rather scary the thought of oranges and grapes casting no shadows … reminds me of Michael Pollan’s book, In Defence of Food …

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