Poem: “An Early Harvest”


An Early Harvest

I hope you and your little winter garden stay safe in this freak fall storm.
Have you secured your dented watering cans in the graying wooden shed?
The little shed with a patched tin roof.

I’ll bet you squeezed the wheelbarrow,
Still filled with mulch,
Between the push mower and solid, yet squeaky door.

Did you toss a musty canvas over questioning mulch
Just in case tin panels shift and rain streams in?
Never mind the earthen floor, you’re probably thinking,
It drinks up the excitement which your canvas repels.

Your floppy leather gloves, tossed on a cupboard shelf
Emphasize the urgency of the harvest.
Slipping calf-skin over your fingers
Wisps of memories soften your furrowed brow.

Tendrils of recollections: Clawing clay from creek banks
                               Pinch pots cradling violets
                               Mother scrubbing mud from underneath short nails
While scolding you.

No worries as a child, caressed by summer sunshine and
A breeze barely strong enough to bend a blade of grass.
Your World, a Garden of Eden where never a maelstrom threatened.

Yet as Day nods its head to Dusk,
Weed-free rows of beets, potatoes, and radish await the dig.
For even they cannot withstand your ravine’s hysterical rush from its banks.

Broccoli, cabbages, and lettuce unfold their leaves inviting your gentle cut.
Hidden slugs snuggle into their leafy nests
Seeking rescue from impending chaos.

Stripped furrows, soil overturned, bear witness to your diligence, to
Your love affair with gardening,
With vegetables that brighten your table.

Bursts of wind tumble fallen leaves: Pumpkin orange
                                           Cranberry red
                                           Butternut yellow
Across the unmade beds.

Your dim cellar fills with an unexpected cache.
White potatoes shaking off their dust brighten the room.
Beets add a sought after glow to the fruitfulness of your passion.

Back aching, you amble up creaky narrow stairs
Anticipating a glass of hardy red wine,
Thus celebrating all kinds of harvests.

You toss another rock of coal upon
Glowing embers, and consider the bounty of an untimely autumn harvest.
A particular lump glows brighter than the rest.
Its aura radiates a message: One must always anticipate an early harvest!

Stacy Peterson
October 28th, 2012



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  • goral

    Indeed, one should always anticipate an early harvest. The northern east-coast is getting ravaged by unexpectedly furious storms. My beets are now covered by six inches of snow. They’re tougher than the gardener’s calf-skins.

    Furrowed brow? The furrows are getting deeper in anticipation of the last harvest,
    when we’ll offer all the fruits of our storm-beaten gardens.