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Harvest

  • Author: Kelli Prescott
  • City, State: Wolcott, VT

Harvest

“We can’t restructure our society without restructuring the English language.  One reflects the other.” -Ursula K. Le Guin

Every year

our communities come together

to remember

the words we do not use anymore.

partisan

gerrymander

pre-existing condition

factory farm

rape apologist

incarcerate

criminal

gentrify

eviction

capitalism

deportation

borders

white nationalism

hate crime

mass shooting

genocide

And every year the list grows longer.

It is slow work to dismantle a language.

We do not need these words to describe our present

But we remember

because we know there was a time when not a day, not an hour passed

without these words overwhelming the souls of our ancestors

When they thought if they heard one more of them

one more time

on this thing they called the “24 hour news cycle”

they would break.

There were so many cracks

But they did not break.

We remember

Because the oldest among us tell us that there was a time when it was nearly impossible to

imagine a world without these words

Just as the youngest among us cannot imagine a world that needs them

We remember

Because it is slow work to reconstruct a language.

Every year we are creating new words

new metaphors

We are not fighting an uphill battle

We are harvesting seeds sown into rocky soil

tired from years of neglect

But our ancestors were careful gardeners.

Each seed

A word

And now they are putting up shoots

And they are blooming

Cleansing the old air with their new oxygen

Healing the atmosphere from which we breathe our life

We remember

Because we must know the soil we are tilling

if we are to continue to grow

And we are harvesting fruit.

About this Artwork

This poem describes a practice that will be done in the future to remember words no longer needed to describe the present, but needed to remember and learn from the past and to honor ancestors.