Poem written at dusk, written right this minute (mine).

I am making plum jam and it smells divine

because of that vanilla bean steeping in it

grown by an orchid in another county’s humidity

 

Misha is outside snipping grapes off the vine

to bring to his parents

because we can’t make all the jam

 

It’s sunny now after  a day of bluster and greys

and there’s a catbird screeching near the chickens

and the rooster’s screeching back at her

 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been injured

because it would sound unimpressive

and I like to impress people with quantities

 

Multiplication has never come easy to me

not even after years of memorization

I wish numbers were something I could intuit like moods

 

Being an adult means being able to eat an entire box of macaroni & cheese

And I can do that

But only every once and a while

 

Perhaps I’m still not quite fully grown

That would be really great news for me

Because I check my upper back daily for wings

 

On the day when I finally grow my wings

I will act as nonchalant as a teenager

And fly away for a daytrip but return home at dusk

 

Because dusk is the best part about autumn

And the best part about summer too

And the best part about right this minute

 

So I’m off to enjoy this current set of minutes

Because as you know they are already flying away from me

At a pace that not even the wingful can achieve

 

“Ode to the First Peach” (poem) (Ellen Bass).

A San Diego friend emailed me this poem this week. How did she know this was the week I was missing peaches so badly? Also missing Annie of Sweet Tree Farms, the best & coolest fruit farmer in the Whole World. We do have a couple of peach trees on the property, but no fruits yet. Although there are huge, bodacious raspberries blooming. Also blueberries. And plums! So there is really nothing for me to complain about. But ooh. The joy of eating a peach. While standing over the sink. The juice dripping down my chin. And looking out the window as I bite. And taking the pit in my fingers. And throwing it outside. Just in case. It wants to grow. Into a peach tree of its own.

 

**

Ode to the First Peach

Only one insect has feasted here,
a clear stub of resin
plugs the scar. And the hollow
where the steam was severed
shines with juice.
The fur still silvered
like a caul. Even
in the next minute
the hairs will darken,
turn more golden in my palm.
Heavier, this flesh,
than you would imagine
like the sudden
weight of a newborn.
Oh what a marriage
of citron and blush!
It could be a planet
reflected through a hall
of mirrors. Or
what a swan becomes
when a fairy shoots it
from the sky at dawn.
At the beginning of the world,
when the first dense pith
was ravished and the stars
were not yet lustrous
coins fallen from the
pockets of night,
who could have dreamed
this would be curried
from the chaos.
Scent of morning and sugar,
bruise and hunger.
Silent, swollen, clefted life,
remnant always remaking itself
out of that first flaming ripeness.

“The Robin World Series” (poem) (mine).

The Robin World Series

 

What if this evening on the porch

I witnessed the Robin World Series

in which all Robins in the world

surrounding my home split into two teams

with mascots named after berries and seeds

and played each other in order to win

not only the bushiest and best-hidden nest

but also a cup crafted from the cap

of an acorn brimming with nectar

collected by hummingbirds?

And what if in the ninth inning

the Robins boycotted the whole event

because it had gotten too long and too late

and their children were starving at home?

 

Landscapes (little farmy poem) (mine).

Landscapes

Last year I met garlic scapes

and I loved them on impact

and incorrectly called them snapes

for almost a year. Then I learned

their name and learned their twisting

goose-necked beauty and cut them

thinly into dishes. Now they grow

in rows outside our kitchen

and they grow in rows at the farm

where I work in the kitchen

and they’re filling the crisper drawer

and they’re all over our salads

and they’re harvested in baskets

and they’re not a food to sustain a nation

or even a main meal ingredient

but they’re one of our first little harvests

and for that I am grateful.

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(Photo by my partner & co-farmer & longtime love Misha, whose blog is titled Microcosmic DreamSCAPES. Coincidence? I think yes.)

(For more of Misha’s farm photos, click here.)

(We are Free Verse Farm!)

Poem of today (poem with friends in it) (mine).

Double Double

 

Today a couple of honeymooners came over

to sit on the porch for hours and eat

lunch and coffee cake. The clouds cleared

 

for them and the frogs burped their hellos

and later poems will be written

with scythes in them and we will all approve

 

or not. After they left I stirred honey

into my tea (like always) and hoped

the clouds would clear again for them later

 

so that the moon could shine on their sweet

little cabin as they read their magazines

and sipped their tea. My honey and I

 

sat on the porch after they drove away,

in different chairs, reading our books

as storms rolled over, the scythed-down

 

grass flattening against the rest, birds flitting

back to nests. To be honest I can’t tell

a bird’s nest from a bat box but I am

 

gosh-darned over-the-moon about

homes in general, about porches and the moon

and frogs that celebrate a thunderstorm.

 

“Eggs and a Song” (poem out loud) (mine!).

Eggs and a Song

The chickens are just heading in

through their chicken-sized door

 

as I challenge spring in the car,

tires hugged in mud in the bend

 

where the fast-driving neighbor

does his fast-driving damages

 

of ruts in the road. I am not yet

thirty and wearing the remains

 

of red lipstick as I walk through

the door of my home. My man’s

 

on the floor with his toes to the sky

in a stretch and the teapot is still

 

breathing steam. Imagining other

couples is like imagining history:

 

I can’t do it at all without the help

of a movie. In the film of my days,

 

my man is healing himself

with patience and I am healing

 

my self with something like hope.

On a bad day I can’t even fight

 

off my rooster; on most days

I’m pocketing eggs with a song.

 

These are the days of seedlings (poem & motion).

We’re planting our seeds. We’re

sowing them in. We’ve made

our selections, we’ve sawed

the boards & nailed them,

we’ve scarified the seeds

who need a little scaring.

Some seeds are smaller

than any item I’ve ever

collected. Some seeds

are blocky, brown & sharp.

We’ve showed them where

they can live in light

on the the dining room table

where the bulbs are big

and the view is right.

No one’s perfect, as

they say–I disagree. I say

a seed is perfect, through

and through. It’s got all it needs

to do inside of it, it knows

and does it in a mere

two days. The seeds

are growing on the table.

The seeds are chatting

with the moon, rising greenly

with their necks to greet her.

 

 

Small-Block-Planting

 

 

(gif by misha m johnson, the most talented photographer in the upper valley)

Fur coat in February (includes photographs).

I was given a fur coat for my birthday this year (by my mother-out-law, who gives amazing presents–raw silk scarves & notebooks & dark chocolates & the most pristine and gorgeous hand-me-downs). I’m not here to give my opinion on fur, mostly because I’m not sure of my opinion on fur. But this is what I do know. This coat is a beauty. This coat is so warm that when I walk outside in it, I feel like I’m still inside. It covers my entire body and it is both warm and beautiful and utterly deluxe. Here’s a picture of me the day I was given it, which was a very very snowy Saturday, a day I was not expecting to leave the house but then I did and wonderful things happened.

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Today I wore the coat outside to let out the chickies. The chickies had no sense of my my unnecessary glamour, but they were pretty pumped to hop up and out of the coop. Tomorrow, I’ll wear it to a black tie Academy Awards party downtown, which I am attending mostly so that I can wear my new fur coat. Also for the company. Also for general deluxeness, which is scarce in February in Vermont.

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And soon friends will arrive in Vermont & it will be my birthday & I will wear the fur coat again. And then spring will come & the snow will melt revealing the hidden garlic & I will be twenty-seven & eager to plant things & eat them. And the fur coat will hang graciously on its soft pink hanger, waiting until I need it again.

 

***

 

Photos by Misha, who else.

Snowstorm chitchat (plus images).

Today I bought blood oranges. Like the ones below painted by Emily Proud, an artist I discovered through another artist, Lisa Congdon. I don’t know either of them personally but maybe someday they’ll come over to the farm and eat citrus with me.

 

bloodoranges_EmilyProud_72dpi

 

I bought them in preparation for The Storm. I also bought bacon, of course. And, as usual, kale. Also milk. And a knobby three-knuckle piece of fresh ginger.

Meanwhile, down at the coop, the chickens are all, “Where is the grass? Why can’t I have it? Why aren’t babies coming out of these eggs I’m sitting on? I’m cold!” They’re huddled on their roosts underneath their red-bulbed headlamps as I write this. If I make a ruckus the rooster Claude will crow & crow until he lets me know that he heard me do it. Having a rooster really gets one thinking about the term “cocky.” That dude walks around like he’s the king of something awesome. Because he is, I guess.

 

wickies roosting