April 12, 2009

Amy Beeder: “Cotton & Turnip”

Posted in Poetry, Religion at 3:41 pm by The Lizard Queen

I’ve fallen behind again, so there will be a handful of poems today.  This is a re-post, as it’s a poem my thoughts return to from time to time when I consider issues concerning the separation of church & state.

Cotton & Turnip

I freely confess my particular indisposition to be moved by [vegetables] . . . often accounted Prodigies.
Cotton Mather

When Heaven spoke through nature any cabbage
might show a rupture in the Human sphere.
That stalk whose puny root should not have held it
Was an omen for the rot of souls, a Prodigy of sin
& Divination–& Still you say the blood is on us!
Friends, it was not Salem’s first ominous Turnip,
Nor the first trespass He answered with excess–
Did you think all dead in the flood had equally sinned?
Goody Parker, Becky Nurse & Wilmott Reed.
Martha hanged & Giles stoned for standing mute,
Sarah Wilds, Sarah Good. As the powers of air
Leave barren the world, the righteous will perish,
Some few, among the wicked. Though good wheat’s lost
When pestilence descends, you burn the field.

—Amy Beeder, 2006

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