Unlike some, I have no love affair
with my compost pile. In fact,
I must confess that I have
neither compost pile, nor heap
of my own to pay homage to,
as others do. And so, I must root
through others’ compost poems,
like a pig in search of a truffle,
to find a rhyming morsel,
maybe a metaphor for myself,
perhaps the perfect line of poetry
discarded here in decomposition,
among the things that refuse
to be downed by our dismissal,
won’t settle for being garbage.
Rotting rinds, wilted greens and coffee
grounds, leaves, and curls of carrots,
curling and turning, they wonder
what they will become.
Unlike the un-living,
crouched in corners wasted and gone bad,
I keep on burning, turning
the heap, turning the line,
a plebeian poet, composing,
piling it on, potato peels and pumpkin skins,
all of it: the loneliness, the alienation,
the shucked out husks of others’ lives.
And yet, this bloated mass of rank unwieldy woe
with its helping hordes of nematodes
will rise up in resurrection. Yes,
compost is history, a running story,
a poem composed of decomposing images.
Note: Italicized lines are found lines, but I do now have my own compost piles.
David Mook is author of two collections: EACH LEAF (Poems and Essays on Grief and Loss), and Corn-Pone 'Pinions (Political Poems, Essays and Cartoons) featuring Art by Tom O'Brien. David has an MFA in Writing from Vermont College and teaches at Castleton University.
The poems that follow are powerful evidence that Poetry Speaks Back to Hunger!