Soil, earth, clay, sod, clod: there’s no shortage of one-syllable words for the stuff that gets behind our fingernails and sticks to our wellies. And it’s strangely enjoyable to say these words out loud – as if they remind us of childhood and sitting in the dirt to make mud pies.
This mini-anthology – arriving just as Spring makes its glorious return – delights in all things earthy, including those often unseen creatures like moles and worms who live and work underground. There are also poems celebrating the human toil of keeping soil in good order and the satisfaction this brings:
“The sense that we have brought to birth
Out of the cold and heavy soil,
These blessed fruits and flowers of earth...”
from ‘The Diehards’ by Ruth Pitter
As we’re reminded elsewhere, “the soil never sleeps”. These poems recognise good earth as something that’s living and precious, which is why we’re delighted to include a message from the Soil Association about their important work.
Poems by Margaret Atwood, Verne Bright, Carl Dennis, Jacqueline Gabbitas, Adam Horovitz, Katie Hourigan, Yusef Komunyakaa, PK Page, Ruth Pitter and George Szirtes.
Cover illustration by Sara Boccaccini Meadows.
Donation to Soil Association.