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"Tomatoes and Beans" by Russell Rowland

Ladies are bringing in squash,

tomatoes, from little outside plots; and Mo

has his baked beans ready for the barbeque

picnic on Monday, Labor Day.

They have lived to reap what they sowed.

The days are shorter now. Time to fill

an hour with kindness, patience

toward those ahead who are faltering.

I would gather Carol’s last tomatoes

for her if necessary. Beans I don’t do.

It meant something, in the old

subsistence years of harsher winters,

to assemble in the meetinghouse and sing,

“All is safely gathered in.”

Heads nodded, when the pastor assured

his congregation that one day soon

they would be the harvest.

Seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee Russell Rowland writes from New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, where he has judged high-school Poetry Out Loud competitions.  His work appears in Except for Love: New England Poets Inspired by Donald Hall (Encircle Publications), and Covid Spring, Vol. 2 (Hobblebush Books). His latest poetry book, Magnificat, is available from Encircle Publications.

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