Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
TED KOOSER: When poetry goes beyond the surface
AMERICAN LIFE IN POETRY

TED KOOSER: When poetry goes beyond the surface

  • Updated

The ancient Chinese poets used to say that at some point in each poem the poet ought to lift his (or her) eyes, ought to look beyond the surface of the present into something deeper and more meaningful. Here is just such a poem by Linda M. Hasselstrom, who lives in South Dakota.

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.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine.

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.
0
0
0
0
0

Stay up-to-date on what's happening

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alert

Breaking News