Saturday, April 11, 2009

letnen journal: what's in a name?

I was one of the first to the farmer’s market
this morning, determined to buy tomato
plants before my day caught up with me.

I was looking for heirlooms – seeds passed
down from grower to grower, generation
to generation, like stories worth repeating.

Most have names like Mortgage Lifter or Dad’s
Orange, but between the Black Cherry and
the Cherokee Purple, I found someone

I was not expecting to find: Paul Robeson.
Last I heard he was an opera singer and activist
who went to Russia and talked about equality,

and they (not the Russians) watched
his every move until his health gave way
and he fell under the weight of the surveillance.

I set my plant to stand in broad daylight
while I wait for it to offer a hint of how
a simple fruit carries such a complicated name



Mark Grace said...

Wow . . . wow! Thanks, Milton

Brad Evans said...

What a fool Robeson was! Moscow today is one of the most dangerous places for non-whites to visit/live in in the world.
The man didn't like things at home? Fair enough. But he didn't have to fall for the oldest logical fallacy of all: "If you don't like my enemy, you're a friend of mine."
The sad thing is, people still think this way.