History of One Person

JayeByrd By JayeByrd, 20th Jul 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>History

A short biography of an extraordinary man written as a prose poem.


From the early nineteen hundreds, during the Great Depression,
Through World War II and the Korean Conflict,
He was a man of the soil.
His strong hands dug in the soil, adding compost, combining, turning,
The dirt into a loose, nutrient-rich home for the seeds.
He had a thumb as green as moss, planted peas in February.
When it was time, he'd fire up the stove in the hothouse,
Where he started the seedlings, the cuttings, the sets.
Cold frames followed and the cool weather beds of
Lettuce, spinach, radishes, rows of carrots, beets, cabbages, onions.
He put sweet potatoes in water to sprout, cut white potatoes and let them seal.
So much preparation even before spring plowing when
He hitched up the mule and followed the plow down
A furrow made straight by years of practice.
He had a pair of mules he took to the field, one wouldn't work at all;
The other wouldn't work without her partner in sight.
He sold plants to all the gardeners for miles around.
One year he sold five, big barrels of sweet potato plants.
He put them on a train to a prison farm in Missouri, had
Enough left over to plant ten acres of sweet potatoes, and
He and the mule took three days to do so. The he planted
Hills of cucumbers, squash and watermelon.
On hot summer days he would mound the wagon with
Purple eggplant, wine-colored beets, orange carrots,
Green beans, red tomatoes, yellow corn,
Fruits and berries, peaches and apples in season.
He would hitch up the mule and wend his way through the
Streets of his small town, signaling his coming with a bell.
Housewives would meet him at the curb, and select food for their families.
He had courage, this gardener. He married a widow lady
With six children; they had two of their own.
At night he read, pipe in hand, yellow tom cat on his lap,
The wood stove pushing warmth throughout the room.
He loved poetry, could quote Shakespeare by the soliloquy,
Also, Scott, Longfellow, and his beloved Bobby Burns.
The Gardener, a philosopher of his time.


Courage, Garden Vegetables, Gardening, Philosophy

Meet the author

author avatar JayeByrd
I'm well into my fourth career. I write Opinion pieces, usually political. I write eclectic poetry, short stories, and essays. I also edit and teach writing.

Share this page

moderator Steve Kinsman moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar JayeByrd
20th Jul 2014 (#)

Steve, I'm having a problem learning my way in wikinut. I guess I accidentally deleted my emails. Could you resend, so I'll know what I missed. Since there were three, I know I missed something. I don't want that to happen.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
21st Jul 2014 (#)

Exquisite ...

Reply to this comment

author avatar JayeByrd
21st Jul 2014 (#)

Thank you, Susan. He was my grandfather, and he was quite a guy. He died in 1958 at age 90. I still miss him.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
21st Jul 2014 (#)

Such men and women made what is possible today that we take for granted. So uplifting - siva

Reply to this comment

author avatar JayeByrd
21st Jul 2014 (#)

Siva, I have a good idea you will read more about my grandfather, and maybe some about his father. They were a breed apart from most present day men. One thing Granddad did most people hardly realize happened back in the 1800s; he worked in the redwood forests in California.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Delicia Powers
22nd Jul 2014 (#)

personal history is the most powerful and profound of all...just beautiful JayeByrd ...!

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?