Saturday, April 5, 2014

Unaccustomed Earth: a Poem

“Human nature will not flourish, any more than a
potato, if it be planted and replanted, for too long
a series of generations, in the same worn-out soil.
My children have had other birthplaces, and, so far
as their fortunes may be within my control, shall
strike their roots into unaccustomed earth.”
--Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Custom-House”

I transplanted my basil today:
moved it to a larger pot,
gave it room to stretch its roots.
Will it thrive in this unaccustomed earth?
And isn’t it the plant who’s
unaccustomed, not the earth?

The earth must be accustomed
to all sorts of roots,
struck for generations in soil both
fresh and worn-out.

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