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Dan Speers

Citizen Poet
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             A Taste of Dirt



I tasted dirt once when I was a child,

  a curious child who tasted things

  like rain,

  and pine and grass and cold wind on winter nights.

I chomped a bit of batter from a spoon,

  and scraped the fudge pot clean,

  and once, when I quite forgot myself,

  I almost tasted greens.



I stole some apples from a neighbor’s tree

  sour and green like persimmons,


  things tasted better when gained illicitly.

I churned a bit of butter in my turn,

  and ate the shelly beans

  with corn, and tomatoes splitting skins

  gorged by summer rains.

I tasted a girl in a youthful theft,

  a swarthy lad who took the kiss


  to keep me warm on warrior nights far from home.

I gained a bit of standing from my tastes

  the older I became

  for wines and exotics and places,

  and people of fame.



I tasted me in a cut on my lips,

  a curious taste of rusty fudge

  and salt

  crusting in palpable bits. As if I could judge

Why I’m grinding flecks of time between my teeth,

  Why so long the dearth

  since the pine and rain and grass and greens,

  since I tasted dirt.





                  --Adapted from A Taste of Dirt,

first published in the Nomad,   Spring 1980

Western Carolina University,Cullowhee, NC

Copyright 1980.                    Revision Copyright 2009