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, Peanut butter and soft drinks And should you take one, This chain of stores has no connection The sound here is Muzak, for your enjoyment, Pay no attention to these people. Tom Wayman, 1974
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.
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.
do not believe it.
with anyone growing food someplace else.
Do not believe it.
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
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.
The manager is a citizen.
All this food was grown in the store.
Because all this food is grown in the store,
Peanut butter and soft drinks
And should you take one,
This chain of stores has no connection
The sound here is Muzak, for your enjoyment,
Pay no attention to these people.
Tom Wayman, 1974