Ode to a Hoe

This entry is part 18 of 31 in the series Odes to Tools


What begins with this
singular L?
New worms, certainly,
from the splitting
of their parent self.
Whole new cities
of aerobic bacteria.
Stones from rocks.
Sprouts of pigweed, lamb’s-quarters,
purslane, dock: seeds
that had lain dormant for decades
until the hoe stirred them
into life.
This italic L spells
hills for yams,
channels for irrigation water,
a level bed for flowers.
Its thick tongue
uncovers an instant palate.
Luh, it says.
Luh   luh   luh   luh.
The shocks travel
up the aching arms.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  1. After hoeing this morning I read this tool poem with special appreciation.


  2. Love this one, Dave! It’s timely too. Caught me in a luh luh lull recovering from vibrational voltage from hoeing the garden yesterday. Ouch! Now I’m inspired, however. I guess the ‘L’ got me started on this one. (Grin). No double entendre intended in the title.


    Upheaver of crazed mud
    Flipper of turf and rocks
    Archeologist of leaf layers
    Mincer of soil nubs and worms
    Channeler of the dirt divide
    Father to the plow
    Feeder to the nation
    Hoe! Hoe! Hoe!


  3. Ha ha ha! That’s excellent. I’m sure Sandberg would have approved.


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