Fieldbook: The Turtle's Heart and Other Poems

The three poems featured in this installment of Fieldbook include "The Turtle's Heart," "Avant Garden," and "Eight Mile Ridge."

| March/April 1985

  • fieldbook - turtle illustration
    The steadfast turtle's heart keeps beating even after the turtle is gone.
  • fieldbook - tulips illustration
    Spring tulips blooms should be an occasion for celebration, not suspicion.
    Illustration by MOTHER EARTH NEWS Staff

  • fieldbook - turtle illustration
  • fieldbook - tulips illustration

Conventional publishing wisdom claims that it's a mistake to run poetry in a "consumer" magazine. Although that may often be true, we're convinced that MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers are the kind of people who look for beauty in the practical and search out practicality in the beautiful ... and who realize that good poetry can be useful as well as inspiring

The poetry included in this occasional feature, whether new or previously published, will be material that helps us see ourselves in the words of others. It's that quality, and the fact that the work presented here will reflect the range of subject areas usually presented in this magazine, that gave this feature its name: Fieldbook.

The Turtle's Heart

Helen I was just in there telling Bob that I caught a turtle up to my place yesterday and I took it over to Laura to see if she didn't want it but she said she didn't have time to butcher it out and you know I don't think she's been feeling right up to it here this fall anyway Helen so she told me to take it up to Fraken's but I was saying to Bob ain't it something how you can cut that turtle's heart right out and throw it over in the corner and come back in ten hours and it'll still be beating away just as strong and why couldn't they put a heart like that in a fellow anyway Helen? you know somebody ought to tell these doctors that are all the time doing these transplants on people like they did this fellow last year that they ought to get a heart like that turtle's heart that'll keep on beating for ten hours even after it's been cut out and wouldn't that be something Helen? wouldn't that be some kind of a heart to put in a fellow anyway?

— Daniel J. Burke


Revolutionary tulips pulled a coup d'etat Last night in my mother's garden. They came up from the Underground — Young and green, heads full of red. "What are the neighbors going to think When they see that we're aiding and abetting?" Maybe they'll put our names on a list Or throw us out of the garden club. I don't know.

Things have already started to change — My mother hung the laundry on a line today And I ran outside barefoot, in my housecoat. The woman next door looked at me as though I were crazy. Some people don't adapt as quickly as others.


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