poetry and prose about place

growing and gathering

with 13 comments

Many of my recent posts are associated with my writing project, ‘growing and gathering’.   My aim is to write a poetry manuscript about collecting and producing local foods.  So far, I have concentrated on ‘edible wild plants’ in my blog, but the full scope of the project will include poems on gardening and other aspects of aquiring local foods.

My process so far has included research into a particular wild plant, a trip to see it in the wild and perhaps gather it for eating, a piece of prose on the characteristics of the plant, a pencil drawing (becoming more and more a part of my thought process), and a poem or poems about the edible plant.

As my project progresses, I am generating many poems.  I am also starting to think about how I will assemble this information into a manuscript.

One of the first steps toward assembling the manuscript is to decide what themes are emerging.   This will help me decide how the poems relate to one another, as well as identify the gaps.

Major themes so far are:

~ companionship (for example, picking berries with a friend)

the results of an hour of blackberry picking with my husband

~ competition (for example, trying to get those hazelnuts before the squirrels)

hazelnuts on the tree…almost ripe…who will get them, the squirrels or me?

~ time (this includes historical uses of wild edibles, as well as seasonal and lifetime components of eating local)

a ‘graveyard’ of old apple trees

~ ethics (this includes ecosystem concerns about eating wild plants when they are struggling to survive in reduced habitat)

a patch of Trout Lily in the hardwoods… edible… but should I harvest when this type of habitat is disappearing?

~ barriers to gathering local foods (for example, why do I buy bags of salad greens when Dandelion greens, Violet leaves and Wood-sorrel grow right outside my door?)

a salad of Dandelion greens and Purple Violets

In my upcoming posts, I want to explore each of these themes.



berry picking


fingers stain indigo

berry juice as blood

withdrawn by eager



berry picking sticks

to me, burrs

and brambles

hooks and eyes

inseparable as

contentment and picking berries


even as I struggle

berries ripen

shake free

fall to ground



©  Jane Tims  2012

1. never eat any plant if you are not absolutely certain of the identification;
2. never eat any plant if you have personal sensitivities, including allergies, to certain plants or their derivatives;
3. never eat any plant unless you have checked several sources to verify the edibility of the plant.

13 Responses

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  1. I really enjoyed reading about what you’re doing, and how you’re putting together everything. I really like the way you’re blending the creative with the scientific.

    Those berries look delicious!



    June 25, 2012 at 11:36 am

  2. Blackberries are one of nature’s perfect foods- I love them on vanilla yogurt.

    I too liked seeing your creative process here!


    Watching Seasons

    June 19, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    • Hi Tracy. Thanks. The blog is a great way to think through some things. By expressing them and commiting them to paper, I find I get further down the path than just stewing by myself! Jane


      jane tims

      June 19, 2012 at 10:33 pm

  3. Love reading about the shaping and reshaping of your work and thoughts. In what ways are your (wonderful) pencil drawings starting to become a part of your thought process? Intriguing. Thanks, Jane


    Jane Fritz

    June 19, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    • Hi Jane. I am working on a second manuscript called ‘Grandfather’s Farm’ and in it, I illustrate almost every poem. I think this may become a pattern. I have quite a few ‘growing and gathering’ drawings, so I am on the way to a fully illustrated manuscript. Jane


      jane tims

      June 19, 2012 at 3:01 pm

  4. We are about to get ripe black-caps around here….and my blueberries are about to turn purple. I had one purple one this morning… I love berry picking. Your poem is right on.



    June 18, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    • Hi. Berry-picking is one of my favorite occupations. What are black-caps??? Jane


      jane tims

      June 19, 2012 at 6:40 am

  5. Yours are some the most consistently good and interesting posts I come across – and this is no exception. Well done.



    June 18, 2012 at 3:12 pm

  6. You make me feel like I’m right there. Nice blend of article, photo and poem, Jane!



    June 18, 2012 at 12:22 pm

  7. I’ve enjoyed catching up on what you are doing and how your work is progressing. Your themes are interesting and offer up so many choices. It must be a challenge to narrow them into a form that works for your book. Congratulations again on your work in progress. I’ll be anticipating the publication with glee. I can hardly wait to buy a copy.


    Carol Steel

    June 18, 2012 at 9:02 am

    • Hi Carol. I have so much work to do, but I am feeling very optimistic. Thanks for your support! Jane


      jane tims

      June 18, 2012 at 1:55 pm

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