Folk Song

Diane Cockburn

Bitter Lemons

He carries three lemons in his pack.
The last things his wife touched
before he set off on his journey,
the last things she picked from the tree
in their courtyard.
One wizened, blackened at the edge,
one small and stunted,
one the perfect lemon
full of Syrian sunshine.
‘For the seasickness’, she said,
as she picked them
as he packed them.
Little pieces of her life and his life,
when there was a life
when there was a lemon tree
when there was a courtyard.
These lemons will restore him.
‘For the seasickness’, she said.

For the heartsickness.

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Tony Morris

Seed Corn

Seed corn from the cities;
Seed corn on the shore;
Seed corn driven by stormy winds
From the fields of War.

Do not be waste and wanton
With the gift that to you flies,
Open up your hearts,
Open up your eyes.
This seed corn when it’s planted,
Will grow to harvest soon.
It will pay you tenfold,
If you give it room.
Do not be waste and wanton.
Let your hands reach out
To gather in the harvest.
Do not give way to doubt.

Confined in leaky barns,
This seed corn wastes and rots,
Providing food for no one
Save some wily rats.
Open up your arms,
Collect this gift of seed,
Broad cast it on your land;
A gift from those in need.
Plant it in your own fair soil,
Give its growth a chance
And come the time of Harvest
Joy will lead the dance.

Seed corn from the cities;
Seed corn on the shore;
Seed corn driven by stormy winds
From the fields of War.

Adapted from an original folk song by Tony Morris