Ireland 2 476

I dropped cut pieces, one by one, into soil

prepared and waiting to receive the budding spuds.

Thinking as I made my way down the furrow

of the Burren in Ireland, a vast rocky stretch of hills,

inhospitable surely to any kind of sustenance

to keep body and soul together and yet

in years past one of the places the people could go,

drop their seed potatoes into crevices in granite,

stuff the cracks with seaweed and in time

harvest enough to keep them alive.

Because you see the Irish then were not allowed to plant,

to own land or beasts or any manner of growing food,

so the storyteller told me.

I think of them, scraping up seaweed, climbing  the hills

and in secret planting their potatoes, praying

that some miracle would allow the crop to grow, to thrive,

to provide.

And it did, or so the story goes, and the people and their potatoes endured.


I cannot testify to the truth of the tale,

only to its impact on me as I plant in deep rich soil,

knowing that should this seed not grow,

should the dreaded blight strike here

I will not starve,

I will not die or be driven from my home by hunger

to travel across a wide sea, to make a new life

in a strange land.

The curse of the potato became death for millions,

salvation for others who came here, to this place

where I now live and plant, and here they rooted,

here they brought their music and their laughter,

their sadness and their potato.


I drop the Irish Cobblers one by one,

one by one, trusting the sturdy heritage

and seeing the stony Burren,

the masses on the ships,

as the brown soil covers all.




About grannysu

storyteller, writer, poet, gardener, countrywoman
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2 Responses to Potatoes

  1. Libby says:

    Lovely poem. Who like have thought planting potatoes could be so meditative!

  2. grannysu says:

    Thank you Libby. Gardening is like that. One has time to let the mind wander and random thoughts gain ground. Then they twist and tie together into a story.

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