Old Man

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The old man
had a rind to him.

You could tell
by the way
his mouth
shaped his words.

He knew
what the land
could produce
and what it could not.

His cells knew
what to grow,
going back
to his ancestors
in the Iberian Peninsula.

They told him
what plants to use
for curing illnesses
and what plants
were good for food.

He didn’t see
these connecting lines
in his sons,

but he saw them
in his granddaughter,
in the way she kneeled
near the plant.

He felt the lines
going back
to ancient lands
in the way
she touched
the sheep.


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

6 responses to “Old Man

  1. Living in the Iberian Peninsula, sadly the lines are few and far between as the land becomes deserted of those with ancient knowledge and all becomes more and more mechanised. But like you Ethel we are full of gratitude when we see the lines surfacing once again. Love David

  2. Working the land has become mechanized, controlled with chemicals; the oneness with the land and man is gone for the most part. Enjoyed your poem, as always it brings a good message in your words

  3. I am so glad for the promise of renewal in the ending, Ethel. A beautifully considered piece.

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