To produce one kilogram of saffron, it
is necessary to pick 150,000 crocuses
Soon, she’ll crouch again above each crocus,
feel how the scales set by fate, by misfortune,
are an awesome tonnage: a weight opposing
time. Soon, the sun will transpose its shadows
onto the faces of her children. She knows
equations: how many stigmas balance each
day with the next; how many days divvy up
the one meal; how many rounds of a lustrous
table the sun must go before enough yellow
makes a spoonful heavy. She spreads a cloth,
calls to the competing zeroes of her children’s
mouths. An apronful becomes her standard—
and those purple fields of unfair equivalence.
Always that weight in her apron: the indivisible
hunger that never has the levity of flowers.
© Judith Beveridge
From Wolf Notes, Giramondo Publishing, 2003
beautiful both poem and photo
Thank you so much, Glad you enjoyed it 😊
One of Judy’s best poems: tender, closely observed, delicate, grave and light at once: the picker and the flowers. Thank you for the poem, Judy, and thanks for doing it justice here, Zeina.
Mark, you have truly encapsulated the spirit of Judy’s poem, thank you so much.
Great shot =)