nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘coastal areas

on my book shelf:  ‘Crow Impressions & Other Poems’

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I am now reading Crow Impressions & Other Poems’ by Edith Miller. Crow Impressions is another book from my publisher, Chapel Street Editions in Woodstock, New Brunswick. Edith and I both launched our books at Westminster Books in Fredericton on June 9. Although I gave her book a quick read before the launch, I have now been able to sit down and enjoy a thoughtful read, as this insightful book deserves!

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Scan0020

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Edith Hoisington Miller, Crow Impressions and other poems. Chapel Street Editions: Woodstock, 2016.

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The other evening at a local writing event I sat next to a fellow book-lover who asked me if I’d read Edith’s book. ‘I love poetry about nature,’ she said. ‘The poems in Crow Impressions make you feel like you are there!’

Throughout her book, Edith’s first-hand knowledge of her subject matter shines through. Edith has watched not only crows, but herons on the shore, song sparrows in the rose bush, and eaglets in the nest. It has been said that crows recognize individual humans and I am certain they know Edith! I know she reveres this kindred ‘spirit sign’, understanding the crow’s sharing of this world,  the intricacies of their language. I love her inclusion of her first poem, written when she was seven – it will be a mystery for you to solve in your own reading, what part of nature she addresses in her poem.

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As I read, I am able to follow a journey to places Edith has lived and visited — from Long Island Sound to Arizona, from Penobscot Bay to New York City, here to Fredericton in New Brunswick. As I read, I am taken to places I have been but stopped short of fully knowing. I read ‘Tidal Bore’ and experience the wild ride on the Shubenacadie River. The sounds and smells in ‘Air Shaft’ recall my own few days in New York City in the 1970s and show me what it might have been like to live in the Village (truly ‘the dream of a 1950s suburban girl’!). Edith’s poems show she shares my interest in American Hopi culture and her poems show the respect she has for other cultures through her experience in issues of social justice.

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Crow Impressions is a lovely book, from the feel in a reader’s hands, to the easy-on-the-eyes layout. From the etching on the cover (a woodcut of a crow from a skate board created as a tribute to the memory of her grandson Isaac William Miller) to the final poems of the book. These return to the image of the crow, acknowledging the true nature of the ‘spirit sign’.

I recommend a close read of Crow Impressions – it will recall your own journey, make you ponder the symbols in your life for their particular meanings, and give you the joy of a walk on the beach even if you are far from the shore. Edith’s book is available at http://www.chapelstreeteditions.com and at our planned joint reading at Tidewater Books in Sackville this fall.

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

limits of the tide #2 – Seaside Plantain (Plantago juncoides Lam.) – Goosetongue greens

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One of the edible plants we found at Oak Bay (near St. Stephen, New Brunswick) was Seaside Plantain, also known locally as Goosetongue.

Seaside Plantain, also known as Goosetongue, ready to pick… they have to be rinsed well since the outgoing tide has left a thick layer of sediment behind…

Seaside Plantain (Plantago juncoides Lam.) grows in thick clumps, forming an intermittent carpet across the shore.  The succulent, linear leaves of Seaside Plantain are grey-green in color.  Inconspicuous green flowers, not present until later in June, rise from the rosette of leaves in a terminal spike.  Seaside Plantain is in the same genus as Common Plantain (see the post for June 13, 2012,  ‘Common Plantain’ under the category ‘growing and gathering’).  Plantago is from the Latin for ‘footprint’ and juncoides means ‘rush-like’.

Goosetongue greens are pleasantly salty and are a local delicacy, eaten as a salad or pickle, or cooked like green beans and served with butter.  For a vivid description of the experience of gathering and preparing Goosetongue greens, see Nature of Words (www.natureofwords.com/2011/07/goosetongue-greens/) by Deborah Carr, and the post for July 14, 2011, entitled ‘Goosetongue greens’.

Warning:
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.

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Sunday Dinner at Maces Bay

                 Seaside Plantain (Pantago juncoides Lam.)

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dig right in

says your father

and nudges the pitcher of water

in my direction

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I study the ‘goosetongue greens’ –

mound of green spaghetti

between spuds and chicken,

green eels diving

for the bottom of the plate

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two things not in their favour –

they’re green,

they look a little like

the tongues of geese

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I watch your Dad –

he adds a dollop of butter,

he weaves his fork to catch a little of each,

potato, greens and chicken,

chews with his eyes closed,

reaches for his glass of water

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I sigh

and taste –

salt air and butter-cream,

crisp, the perfect crush,

mouth-feel, amazing

please pass the water

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©  Jane Tims 2012

Warning:
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.

limits of the tide #1 – edible plants

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Last week, our travels took us to the edge of the sea, where I looked for more edible wild plants.  I found what I was looking for at Oak Bay, near St. Stephen.  At the end of a little-used road, we came out on a gravelly spit of land jutting into the Bay.

mid-tide at Oak Bay… at high tide, most of the foreshore will be covered by salt water… at low tide, the clam-flats will be exposed

There, on the shoreline, were four plants to add to my larder of edible wild.

Three of the species formed a small community near the upper reaches of the shore:  Seaside Plantain, Sea-blite and Samphire.  All three are in the photo below… can you find them?

The Seaside Plantain (also known as Goosetongue) is the dense clump of long, thick, linear leaves in the photo above…

The Sea-blite is just starting to grow.  Later in the season it will be as large or larger than the Seaside Plantain.  In the enlargement below, Sea-blite is the small green plant to the right of the clump of Seaside Plantain…

The Samphire is also very small this time of year.  Later it will be as large as the Sea-blite or Seaside Plantain.  In the photo enlargement below, it is at the base of the clump of Seaside Plantain, at exactly 6 o’clock.

The fourth edible plant at Oak Bay is Orach.  It grows on the upper shore, above the Seaside Plantain and beyond the limit of the tide.  These plants often grow together along the coast, on salt marshes, tidal flats, dykelands and beaches.

Since the plants were not plentiful and not yet ready to pick, I took only one plant of each, for my drawings.  I also took a bite of each type of leaf.  Although there are subtle differences, all four were crisp and salty in flavour, a delightful nibble of the salty sea.

These are just a few of the edible plants living in coastal areas of New Brunswick.    Over the next posts, I will explore these four species and a few others.

©  Jane Tims  2012

Warning:
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.
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