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Poem: "Farm to Market" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Farm to Market"

A shooting has occurred at a Sikh temple, and is probably a hate crime.  I am responding by posting a poem about healthy community life and civil ways of responding to conflict.  Energy flows where attention goes.  I believe that our choices as creative people can influence the culture around us.  Choose something postive.

This poem came out of the June 19, 2012 bonus Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from aldersprig, rix_scaedu, and the_vulture.  It belongs to the series Hart's Farm, and you can read more about that on the Serial Poetry page.

Farm to Market

Auduna woke early on market day,
Frida and Karin already bustling about
making the preparations.
Together they packed up the fine goods:
stacks of embroidered napkins and pillowcases,
strips of red ribbon, pretty things for people to buy.

Finlo and Inge were loading their paintings,
along with paints and canvas for portraits,
Inge for once covered in a bright blue dress.
Arnvid brought wooden platters and boxes
decorated with Leif's elegant chip-carving.

Rowen had the last of the honey taken from the hives,
glass jars of golden sweetness nestled in crates of straw.
Beeswax candles there were too, and bricks of beeswax,
and white paper bags of honey candies.
With them went packets of dried herbs from the glass house
that would not grow in the open air.

Elharn directed the loading of heavy crops --
linen sacks of potatoes and grains --
as Vendel hauled them out of storage
and passed them to Dýrfinna
who stacked them in her wagon.

Gróa and Borga lifted baskets of apples,
the fancy varieties grown on trees that had
come from England or France or elsewhere,
which most people did not have room to grow.
Solvig and Hrafn had the stamped steel cash-box
and the account book for market records.

Auduna stared at the hustle of bodies,
feeling a little lost, and shifting
on ankles already threatening to swell.
Frida patted the curve of Auduna's belly
and said, "Here, you can drive the art wagon."
With that, she helped Auduna into the seat
and handed her reins attached to drowsy draft horses.

So Auduna drove into the village
in the pale pre-dawn light,
hoping a bit desperately that this encounter
would prove less nerve-wracking than the last.
They set up the tables, laid out the goods,
and opened the backs of the wagons.

The cooks from the restaurants were already waiting,
and some from the households that could afford servants,
eager for the exotic varieties of fruits and herbs.
Auduna also recognized the man who ran the general store,
Tait, with his balding auburn hair and silver-framed glasses.
He bargained for staple foods from Dýrfinna's wagon
and a hank of ribbons from Auduna's wagon,
and he smiled at everyone.
Perhaps this would not be so bad after all.

Then Öda arrived, pestering her cook and her housemaids
about what should be purchased for a dinner party.
Her charcoal dress was buttoned snugly
around her wrinkled throat, closed with a brooch,
and her graying brown hair was pinned severely atop her head.
She looked down her nose at Auduna, sniffed, and said,
"I see you haven't gotten out of trouble yet."

Auduna sank down behind the pile of linens on her table.
Then Arnvid slung an arm over her shoulder.
"She's with me," he said firmly.  "Now, Öda,
will you be wanting new napkins for your nice party?"
Öda left off scolding Auduna and flipped fussily through the wares,
picking out a dozen napkins embroidered with flowers.
Nobody mentioned that some of those were Auduna's work.

After the woman left, Auduna heaved a sigh.
Arnvid let go of her with a friendly pat on the back.
"Don't worry about it," he said.  "It's best that
everyone has a place to go.  Sometimes,
it just takes the villagers a while to remember that."
Then he went to sell a bedroom chest
to the pair of newlyweds admiring it.

Auduna remembered how some people
had just grumbled at her,
while others hinted her toward Hart's Farm.
But even the ones who disapproved
came to the market and did business.

Frida plopped down next to Auduna and exclaimed,
"Look!  A trader was selling indigo silk thread!"
Auduna stroked the fine blue skeins,
already imagining the cornflowers she would embroider.
Let the women in the village cluck like old hens.
Auduna had her work and her friends,
and that was good enough for her.

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Current Mood: determined determined

3 comments or Leave a comment
eseme From: eseme Date: August 19th, 2012 03:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I do like the market - thanks for all the vivid descriptions.

The farm is lucky to be able to produce such excess.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 19th, 2012 08:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

>>I do like the market - thanks for all the vivid descriptions. <<

I'm happy to hear that. Markets can be fun, and full of delicious details.

>>The farm is lucky to be able to produce such excess.<<

It's more a matter of variety than volume, though in healthy circumstances, a farm generally does run a surplus. They have good land and plenty of skilled people. They're also smart in terms of growing things outside the usual, because they've got the extra hands. Plus they have a lot of artisans, which makes it easier for them to get cash, which they can route back into supplies. They have plenty of time that's not required for basic survival, but they don't waste it -- they use it make things. Home decorations, relationships, but also a substantial amount of market goods. They have a good mix of practical and sophisticated skills.

So the farm works kind of like a tiny village; they can meet a lot of their own needs, and still trade for what they can't make locally. I've read enough about historic villages and contemporary intentional communities to have a fair idea how something like that functions. I'm glad it looks good.
From: thaddeus_tad Date: July 31st, 2014 01:54 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad you included that her work mattered to her, as well as her friends. I think people forget sometimes how important it can be for some of us to be able to be productive. I've accidentally gained a mentality that makes it hard for me to just sit and do nothing. If I think I have to, I end up meditating because that feels productive. I crochet, I just started to take up knitting, I proof-read things when I think that'll be accepted. It helps give me a place even though I'm a freak. ^_^
3 comments or Leave a comment