Rural Ways

Suzanne Bruce
I smile as I walk through grass-growing
valleys of Transylvania, hillsides quilted
with purple salvia, pink sainfoin,

globeflowers, a sort of enlarged buttercup,
stand in damper patches like Japanese lanterns,
early summerís sweet smells ooze          gradually thicken

as the sun drops, honey-sharp aroma
of butterfly orchids, hares appear on the track
in front of me                    a world made beautiful

by symbiosis, a powerful chain of connections.
Summer grass feeds local cows, while in winter,
hay provides their sustenance. Every family member

plays a part of farming life, people here live on nutrient
transfer from meadow to plate. Grass first mown, then
stems raked into small heaps spread in dayís sun to dry,

one side then the other, later gathered into haystacks.
Embroidered clothes spun from raw wool, cooking up
plum jam, corn shelled to feed cattle, deep attachments

to rural ways. Milk of cows sold in the village, or drunk
at home, but aging farmers, government control,
economic changes threaten this land, young couples

seek contemporary ways, look at the view, eat
and drink then go away, but older hearts feel pride
in not abandoning inherited style. Transylvania

is not yet a fossil, it is alive, just in need of life-support,
it is a world of no great riches, this land is holy ground,
hard work keeps it going, a meadow stays a meadow

if it is mown every summer, forsaken, will fill with scrub
in three to five years. Without new generations holding
traditions, is it possible to save this landscape of treasures,

can a modern world sustain beauty it wonít embrace?

Suzanne Bruce, a former teacher, holds a B.S. in Education from the University of Tulsa, did graduate work at Wichita State University, and now lives in Fairfield, California. She writes poetry singly as well as does ekphrastic work with local artist Janet Manalo. Their book, Voices Beyond the Canvas (2007), has been featured at several Bay Area exhibitions. Their latest book, Her Voices Her Visions (2015) was released in November. A member of the Ina Coolbrith Circle and the Solano County Library Foundation, she is also active with the Solstice Creative Writers, St. Helena. Her work has won several poetry prizes and has been published in By Line Magazine, Phatítitude Journal, Suisun Valley Review, Snail Mail Review, MungBeing, Jessamyn West Anthology, the Ina Coolbrith Gatherings, riverbabble, Poeming Pigeon and Copperfield Reivew. Her inspiration often comes from walking on the beach as well as in her regular yoga practice.

     riverbabble 29 table of contents    |   Write to the Author   |  Go to the Archives