Planting sang

Sing a song of sang, that human root:
wrinkled homunculus growing slow as thought.
Even the seeds take twenty months to sprout,
stones that finish growing in the ground
as if traveling through the interminable gut
of some great beast that vanished in the Pleistocene.
Sing a song of burying in haste,
the berries’ flesh a tempting prize for mold.
So if picked on a morning in early September,
nestled into a plastic vial & sent by overnight mail,
you must plant them as soon as they arrive —
don’t put it off till after supper.

Choose each resting-place with care,
moving slowly through the woods & stopping often.
Pretend you’re burying a grandparent, piece by piece.
Make a hole with your index finger
no deeper than the second knuckle,
drop the blood-colored berry in & cover it up.
Pray for uninterrupted sleep, & an end to sleep.
Let your stomach rumble, soft & low.
__________

Quite by chance, I just found out that my local public radio station aired a related story this morning. Refer to the other links on that page for more on sang culture in Pennsylvania.

5 Comments


  1. I love the pun of “planting sang”: so, what sort of song does planting sing?

    (For years, I mis-read the title of May Sarton’s Plant Dreaming Deep, picturing a plant that dreamt deeply. I still prefer that visual to the “correct” one of planting one’s dreams in a deep place.)

    Reply

  2. Thanks. Yeah, this poem ain’t the best I’ve ever written by a long shot, but I think it has its moments, and the title may be one of them.

    Someone with more time on their hands than either you or me should start a Creative Misreadings blog. It would be fun to collect stuff like that.

    Reply

  3. Creative misreadings sounds like such a great idea. It reminds me of mondegreens, which are creative mis-hearings.

    Reply

  4. “Someone with more time on their hands than either you or me should start a Creative Misreadings blog.”

    That person’s not me, but it’s a religion I’m very sympathetic too.

    As you know.

    Reply

  5. “Eat your mondegreens, Tonym, or you won’t get any dessert!”

    “Aw, Mom, do I have to?”

    The hagiographers would not list mondegreens among the temptations of St. Antonym.

    Reply

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