10/12/07

For Poetry Friday--The Wild Carrot Field, by Susan Pendleton

I have been sorting through 20 boxes of books donated to my library booksale by the Brown University library (left over from their booksale). About a third of the books are poetry--very obscure poetry, for the most part. As I picked up one slim volume (They Will Remain, by Susan Pendleton), this picture fell out:


It is Susan.

I then read her poems, hoping I would like them. I didn't, quite, like most of them, but this one struck a chord--it is the best poem about weeding I've ever read:

The Wild Carrot Field

Sun browned field,
Wild carrots dipping;
My task to pull them
While the minutes go slipping.
In beauty bending,
Nodding in grace
Shimmering, pestilent
Queen Anne's lace;

Two thousand, three thousand
Grime and stain.
Last year, this year,
Next year again.
Some folks pity,
Seeing me bend.
"She has taken a task
That will never end."

Yet there comes strangely,
Plodding like this,
Almost hopeless,
Some hint of bliss.
Red sun slanting,
Shadows so fair!
I pause to worship
With head bare.

Wiping the sweat
With torn sleeve.
(There is a heaven
I do believe.)
Colors deepen
With shadowing.
Beauty holds me
Imprisoning.

Little wind blowing
Sets the lace shaking.
Loveliness here
For a heart breaking,
Let me continue,
Six, seven-
If I stop too sudden
It might snap heaven.

Susan Pendleton was born in Connecticut in 1870. Her poems haven't been widely published--this anthology was compiled in 1966 and privately printed.

The Poetry Friday Round Up is at Two Writing Teachers this week

2 comments:

  1. This stanza really grabs me:
    "Two thousand, three thousand
    Grime and stain.
    Last year, this year,
    Next year again.
    Some folks pity,
    Seeing me bend.
    "She has taken a task
    That will never end."

    Then of course, she speaks of beauty and hearts breaking and heaven.

    ReplyDelete

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