Potatoes

1. The Wheat Fields

The cows chew the pasture grass,
and potatoes grow in infertile soil.
The bags of wheat are taken away.

Dubliners forced to hoe the fields,
to have a place to stay,
so cows can chew the pasture grass.

The potatoes are rotting. Government
silent. Crops fail. Still
bags of wheat are taken away.

Children smile with sore mouths,
bleeding, toothless scurvy red,
but cows can chew the pasture grass.

Cornmeal for the workers,
Emigration for the lucky,
bags of wheat taken away…

A future of the sea, flu –
New World come true,
while the cows chew the pasture grass,
and the bags of wheat are taken away.

2. The Palace

They don’t care much for potatoes,
sitting up in British Parliament.
Care more for bills, tariffs, raising taxes,
and keeping foreign wheat out.
Irish, what Irish? Workhouses
will teach them not to starve.

On the rocking ships, they starve
making a new life away from potatoes.
Won’t keep them from workhouses
or disagreeing with parliament

or a depression they don’t know about,
a waste of life worrying about taxes.

Tony Blair apologizes

for taxes,
the 1840s, those that starved,
‘the richest and most powerful nation,’
and his tongue is heavy with potatoes,
and his tongue is from Parliament,
and his tongue is in a workhouse.

Rows of potatoes sit in Parliament,
putting taxes in, taking taxes out,
forgetting about workhouses

and the people that starve.

* * * * *

Jess Taylor is the founder of The Emerging Writers Reading Series (http://ewreading.wordpress.com). She is also a fiction and non-fiction writer, a poet, an artist, and a musician. After growing up in the remote and often forgotten town of Palgrave, Ontario, she has moved to Toronto, Ontario. She is currently attending the University of Toronto for their English in the Field of Creative Writing MA Program. To read, watch, and see more of Jess Taylor, check out www.jesstaywriter.com.

Her contributions to Snake-Oil Cure can be found here.