The MTA and Poetry Society select poems, as part of the Poetry in Motion program, to post on Gotham’s beloved metro system. One from this years’ selections includes an excerpt from In My Craft and Sullen Art by Dylan Thomas. The Poetry Foundation posts the entire poem here.
Since I consider myself somewhat illiterate when it comes to literature and poetry, I searched online to learn about Dylan Thomas. I won’t put you to napping with a biography of his life. But will tap that he lost his carbon on my birthday, twenty years before I whelped. Alcoholism. Sad.
On a brighter tap, it was serendipity of timing that I searched him today. I found a poem he wrote at age 14. With planting season coming around the mountain, and tomato eating season in a few more mountain bends, this should get your inner gardener and vegetable lover in the mood.
A Ballad of Salad
I cannot eat the red, red rose,
I cannot eat the white;
In vain the long laburnum glows,
Vain the camelia’s waxen snows.
The lily’s cream of light.
The lilac’s clustered chalices
Proffer their bounty sweet,
In vain; though very good for bees,
Man, with unstinted yearning sees,
Admires, but cannot eat.
Give me the lettuce that has cooled
Its heart in the rich earth,
Till every joyous leaf is schooled
To crisply crinkled mirth;
Give me the mustard and the cress,
Whose glistening stalklets stand
As silver white as nymphs by night
Upon the coral strand;
The winking radish round and red,
That like a ruby shines;
And the first blessing, onion shed
Where’er your lowness dines;
The wayward tomato’s glorious head,
Cool cucumber sliced small;
And let the imperial beetroot spread
her crimson over all.
Though shrinking poets will prefer
The common floral fashions,
With buds and blossoms hymn their Her,
These vegetable loves would stir
A flint-heart mineral’s passions.