real oats

Oats. . . (Avena sativa?  Once, when horses provided the main source of pulling power
on the farm, oats were much more widely cultivated. It is a beautiful sight to behold, the
rich bright tan of a ripening field in the late afternoon prairie sunlight..Even more so,
if one is travelling on foot, and has the time to admire the graceful form of the down-
turned flowers with the long, tapering geometry of the open scales.

Sometimes the Latin names of plants are but the strained, artificial constructs of near-
sighted academics. And yet, at other times, they have a sound which seems deeply
resonant with not only the roots of agriculture, but of the whole of culture itself.
Sativa, meaning "of the fields", or "a cultivated species". Sativa. Try saying outloud.
So different than the Burgerking English spoken in much of North America these days,
. . .It calls forth the image of the of the goddess of the fields of the Greeks and Romans,
Ceres and Demeter. When we name a star nowadays, we call it something like M4.
But there it is in the midsummer night sky of the Ohio prairie, the pattern known as

, with her brightest star, Spica, representing the staves of wheat and rye and
oats which are awaiting harvest.

I think we should expect of Poetry that it protect the best of the past; but it should also
point us towards the best of all possible futures. In an era grown manic with markets
as blind as they are destructive, setting our sights on distant stars, however faint at
first, might help reawaken a sensitivity for the ancient grasses one chances upon
along the way.

mail boxes 9-Pine
buckeyes Buckeyes

(Photograph was made Tuesday, the 23rd of July, 2002)

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Photograph by Cliff Crego © 2002