Ode to the potato

Buried deep
and groomed
by earthworms
you bring
from soil
a modest bulk,
an insipid
sustenance
for working
weekdays
Sundays
funerals
yet a canvas
for the sweeter
savor
of the onion,
butter
gravy and your
nightshade
siblings.
You, potato
serf
and landlord
soldier
fighting famine,
our silent
servant,
boiled or fried
beaten, mashed
stashed to stem
starvation,
you potato
emperor
and ruler,
king of life.

The Potato Eaters
Vincent van Gogh

Today Misky guest-hosts at dVerse, Poetics with a prompt on eating and food. As inspiration, she has included the poem “Ode to the Onion” by Pablo Neruda. Growing up in Sweden, the importance of potatoes cannot be underestimated.

May 10, 2005

22 responses to “Ode to the potato

  1. This is fabulous! And to think that P. infestans caused mass population movement from Ireland, and yet it fed millions during the plague years. I love this mix of botany, history, and sustenance. Thanks for writing to this prompt.

  2. This is such a passionate write, Bjorn! Yes, we cannot underestimate the significance of potatoes. Especially love; “You, potato serf and landlord, soldier fighting famine, our silent servant, boiled or fried beaten, mashed.” 💝💝

  3. Bjorn, *thank*you* for singing the praises of an unsung hero. You nailed its humble, indispensable nature. I had no idea spuds were that important in Swedish history. I learned awhile back that not nearly the # of Irish had to die during the Potato Famine. (See film Black ’47)

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