Wednesday, August 14, 2019 —
“Through you we eat sunlight”
I had another poem queued up for today, but Laura Grace Weldon’s hymn to a Rutabaga took my imagination by storm. No . . . perhaps not a storm, perhaps a late summer whisper. Not all poems present themselves as solemn at first reading . . . a second, maybe a third reading though . . . it’s wise to expect surprises at every turn, perhaps even awe.
Best to read the poem out loud, with pauses. Have a blest mid-work week day.
“Rutabaga” Laura Grace Weldon
You darken as my knife slices
blushing at what you become.
I save your thick leaves
and purple skin
to feed the cows.
A peasant guest at any meal
you agree to hide in fragrant stew
or gleam nakedly
in butter and chives.
Though your seeds are tiny
you grow with fierce will
grateful for poor soil and dry days,
heave up from the ground
under sheltering stalks
to sweeten with the frost.
Tonight we take you into our bodies
as if we do you a favor—
letting your molecules
become a higher being,
one that knows music and art.
But you share with us
what makes you a rutabaga.
Through you we eat sunlight,
taste the soil’s clamoring mysteries,
More about the author
Laura Grace Weldon’s happy childhood was marred by the presence of alligators under her bed. No one ever proved they weren’t real.
She found peace in a small forest behind her home, where she hoped small woodland creatures might grow to trust her and eat the offerings of food she brought each day. They didn’t.
She also sought refuge in books, happily bringing home dozens each week from that heavenly realm called The Library. When told, “get your nose out of that book and go outside” she rode her trusty pink bike for hours. Quite regularly she discovered the thrill of getting lost. Back then small girls found their own way home from construction sites, major highways and Lake Erie. The only consequence? A sense of adventure.
The continuing adventure has led Laura to write a book of poetry with nursing home residents, run support groups for abused children, teach nonviolence workshops, develop community enrichment programs and make messy art.
Laura lives on Bit of Earth Farm with her family. Although she’s not a particularly useful farm wench she takes part in raising cows, chickens, produce, honeybees, and the occasional ruckus. In her idle hours she writes essays and articles, edits other people’s books, spends time on the blog she said she’d never start, writes poetry, and is slow at work on her next book. Catch up with her at www.lauragraceweldon.com.
By the way, she’s learned that the alligators haunting us are exactly where any of us put them.