The Kitchen Garden
What do I know of food, but love?
Marily prepares it
I eat and love it.
It is the love that nourishes.
The love superimposed on every molecule
in every morsel.
She is among the best I know
at doing this, surpassing mother
and every old lady
who lived in a shoe.
Better than bakers dozen
and fairytale cook of stone soup.
What do I know?
I don’t cook.
I just eat it.
Who grew those potatoes?
Who planted the carrots
and hoed in the row
keeping the weeds to their knees?
Tomatoes bowing to sun
and growing red
while moon offers harvest tips
before the beans can climb the fence
escaping to neighbors
'cause a garden won't walk out the gate.
Shovel and clipper, a wheelbarrow load
and squash à la carte
side salad salsa
and blueberries à la mode.
I know, I know.
I grow ‘em.
Ever wonder why homegrown is better than bought?
I found out as a boy on the farm.
Mom was the gardener and cook.
Dad milked the cow and plowed till dusk.
On our 20 acre plot
we had a garden and a barn
an orchard and grape vines.
Once mom made dandelion wine.
It tasted great before I was old enough
We knew all living things were by the love of God.
We worked together for the food.
Even hard work was good
on the farm.
Someone told me once—
was it Mom or Aunt Louise?
who made goat cheese
like none other:
It’s not the food that feeds you.
Love those seeds before you plant them.
Hold ‘em in your hands
give them your breath and teach 'em
what love is. Put them in your mouth.
They’ll learn to know your needs
and track all past disease to present.
Infuse what’s needed for prevention
in their pods and roots and leaves.
Peas and beets and spinach
need clean water.
But better that you first
soak your feet in the bucket from the well
and water after dinner
when the tree-line hides the sun.
Or in the morning before it rises
higher than your shoulder blades.
And grass is not to mow,
but for sheep and goats to eat
providing what is needed for those beets.
Brown the springtime garden before it grows.
Love your seeds before you plant them.
Walk barefoot on the dirt.
It works to love
the plants you grow
and let them know you.
Life is love's expression.
Love is God in food.
© 2009 Ardi Keim
(For more on Marily's cooking see High Cuisine.)