Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Planting Peas

I bare my hand and dole out shriveled peas,
one by one.
– from Planting Peas, by Linda M. Hasselstrom 

Seems crazy that I chose the hottest day of the summer to plant my fall garden – but it had to be done. Spinach and beets in the raised bed and a long row of peas in the big garden. But before I could plant, I had to unplant the spent bush beans, cucumber and zucchini vines, hauling them off to the compost pile, making room for the new seeds.

Here's a poem that Ed forwarded to me from American Life in Poetry. The poem, written by Linda M. Hasselstrom, captures some of the thrill of planting peas – no matter that it is not spring but rather sweltering hot outside. I hope you like it.

Planting Peas 

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.

I miss
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.

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