Planting Spuds

The first new potatoes are appearing in the supermarket but I’m not tempted because they’re from the North Island and always a disappointment in comparison with the far tastier, but slightly later ripening, North Otago ones.


Until the local spuds are available I won’t be buying, but the thought of them prompted the choice of this Friday’s poem.


It’s Planting Spuds by Brian Turner from Footfall published by Godwit in 2005.


Planting Spuds


You were reading where a man planting spuds

in his garden saw it as his ‘sovereign prerogative’

a phrase both lofty and daft, possibly outrageous.


It’s hard to decide. As is, if what one does could ever

be worthy of such belief. And it’s difficult to know

if you’re a certain sort of person, what one has


a right to do, or whether one should even be troubled

by the question. I can easily imagine working in a bee-loud

corner of a glade, a lost domain, humming happily


or watching a rabbit unnoticed yet ever alert,

nibbling grass perked by rain. But what one

chooses to do next is governed by more than


one’s own prerogative. You should be ready to run

like a rabbit, no matter what. It’s got something

to do with who’s part of the food chain, and which


way the wind’s blowing. What do you reckon?

How deep in the ground would you put spuds

if you didn’t have the requisite advice printed


on the bag they came in? And would it help to

plant them before the sun goes down and the bees

return to the hive? Does anyone know that?


– Brian Turner –

One Response to Planting Spuds

  1. monkey boy says:

    One of the most pleasant gardening experiences I can recall is planting spuds. In Cornwall, UK. Broke ground in an old field one very frosty spring morning, and after I’d finished and was good and warm, watched in fascination as the warmth from the earth beneath the frost, steamed and smoked in the sun.
    Nice spuds, too.

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