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Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Why? my brother asked when I told
him I was growing turnips.
I didn't have an answer.
It occurs to me now that I haven't
eaten a turnip since . . .
truth is I can't remember.
I think I did once,
or maybe twice, years ago.
But here they are in my garden, their
tops a lovely emerald green,
swaying gently to a melody
the wind is apparently playing.

Maybe I grew them because once,
more than half a century ago,
Danny Frey persuaded me to help
him gather turnips in the corn field.
We took some old buckets, went out,
and pulled them up, mottled
purple bulbs clotted with brown
soil we brushed away.
The wind was that nippy late
October wind that presages
icicles. We filled the buckets,
headed for the barn, the warm.
It's a good memory.

I like turnips because their beauty
is both above ground and below,
seldom seen, rarely praised.
I may not eat my turnips.
Who will know?

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