Poem of the month

March 2018
This poem (from the pamphlet Gardening with My Father) looks at that moment in early spring when gardeners are sorting out their seeds, knowing that they will, over the coming months, turn into a plentiful crop of vegetables. Every year I have the good fortune to receive seeds from a friend in Bosnia and Herzegovina, often gleaned from her own vegetable garden and labelled in her language.


I am impatient with seeds.
Especially when, like this one,
I don’t know what they are.
Furry at one end, hard at the other,
The packet says ‘mixed wild flowers’.
I can’t wait.

Seeds from Eastern Europe
Bring their own challenges.
Wrapped carefully in white tissue
Labelled in a language
I don’t understand.

Translations are equivocal;
This one is long and yellow,
This one is round and green.
Over the years I have learned
A new word for tomato:



(Paradajz (pronounced ‘paradize’) is Bosnian for tomato.)

©Elizabeth Hare 2015