byCheryl Savageau
On Cape Cod
the colonists bring their
animals tied to the yoke
and plow the mother's breast
planting in long rows,
separating one crop
from the other

the corn's feet grow cold
the harvest small, and eaten
by raccoons who raid nightly
with no squash bristles
to threaten their delicate feet

In winter, angry winds
carry the earth
someplace else
til there is nothing left
but this sand
where white pine
shrunk from grandfather forests
to these survivors,
hold hands across the dunes

I know that inside the white pine
there is food to survive a winter
that the wide plantain leaves
pushing up through the old driveway
could make a salad, that the furry berries
of the staghorn sumac will make
a winter tea for me, and be first food
to returning birds come spring

how much is forgotten?

the earth is cold now
but when the dogwood blossoms
it will be warm enough
to hold the seed corn
and coax it into growth

see how the hill catches the sun
for the young roots of corn
see how the corn stays the winter
holding the earth safe
through furious winds

© 1995 Cheryl Savageau
From Dirt Road Home, Curbstone Press.

Return to the Cheryl Savageau website