The Sunday Poem: Mary Oishi....when i sing of seeds

Good morning, Albuquerque! Rich Boucher here, back again as your interim editor (for June and July) of The DitchRider. Before we dive in, I would like to thank Jon for this opportunity (again) the take the wheel here. This is an honor and a privilege and I'm grateful for it.

I actually got to hear Mary Oishi read this poem at her recent feature at Speak, Poet! (a great poetry open mic/feature series hosted by Andrea Serrano here in Albuquerque) and I was at once floored and quieted by the swirling music, the forceful breeze of this poem. I hope you feel the same way. 

when i sing of seeds

when i sing of seeds
mine is not a song of acorns and grains
kernels and cones
not when i sing of seeds.

when i sing of seeds 
falling from trees
wrapped in fruit
floating lightly bearded in the breeze
in a bird's beak, a squirrel's cheek, 
a gardener's loving hand

i sing not of seeds but of
blossoms fragrant, 
bursting fucshia and crimson and gold
i sing of majestic trees
that join wind and earth and sun
for two thousand years
when i sing of seeds. 

when i sing of seeds i sing
harvest, sing baskets of corn to be husked
sing peas to be shelled, shells to be cracked
and released of their nutmeats
when i sing of seeds. 

when i sing of seeds i sing
roasting and baking and grilling
sing conversations around the table
silverware clanking, appetites satisfied
when i sing of seeds.

when i sing of seeds i sing
thirty years down the road
a child yet unborn crunching into
an apple
when i sing of seeds i sing of
bouquets picked and handed to
mothers with love in the year 2999

when i sing of seeds
my song rises
verse after verse into 
all that is life
a swell of possibility
when i sing of seeds.

when i sing of seeds
i sing down seven generations
times seven times seven
when i sing of seeds
my song never ends
my song never ends when i sing of seeds

Mary Oishi has performed and published poetry all of her life.  She is the author of Spirit Birds They Told Me (West End Press, 2011), and has performed in numerous poetry events, (as well as produced several) since her arrival in New Mexico in 1999. Her poems are published in anthologies and poetry magazines, including Harwood Anthology and Looking Back to Place (Old School Books, Albuquerque) and most recently in Malpais Review and Mas Tequila Review. The Women's Review of Books reviewer said her work has a “populist aesthetic.”  In addition to being a poet, she is a public radio professional and Blues Show host on KUNM-FM.  She is also a lifelong community volunteer and activist.

Poetry submissions are welcome.  Email

*Photograph of Mary Oishi by Kyle Zimmerman Photography.


Views: 114

Comment by Margaret Randall on June 2, 2013 at 8:33am

A Mary Oishi poem is always a great way to start a Sunday morning!

Comment by Dee Cohen on June 2, 2013 at 10:07am

She sings the seeds electric. Thanks for an inspiring poem. D

Comment by Izquierdo on June 2, 2013 at 10:19am

I love the last stanza, the reminder that seeds are generational. A fuschia bouquet to you,


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