I’m going to have it up, the farmer says,
as we walk by; he holds out to us
a clump of thin, pale roots. A Tudor crop,
self-seeding through the centuries
and hard to shift, even with a
modern tractor plough. Food for
adulterers, they say - he gives Ed,
not me, a sly wink.
Tossing his example to the hedge,
he climbs back up and we walk on.
In bed that night, I think of the dogged crop:
whose hands had tended it there? Its persistence
near-sacrificial, that pepperiness
receding like an echo to the verges
while the potato’s crude, bland ball
dominates the field. I picture
where it rests, by the hedge, its
pale flowers closed again in moonlight,
those little roots steady in the warm earth
its patience purposeful, like an old love.