Thursday, July 4, 2013

Ellie Schoenfeld: "Patriotism"

My country is this dirt
that gathers under my fingernails
when I am in the garden.
The quiet bacteria and fungi,
all the little insects and bugs
are my compatriots. They are
idealistic, always working together
for the common good.
I kneel on the earth
and pledge my allegiance
to all the dirt of the world,
to all of that soil which grows
flowers and food
for the just and unjust alike.
The soil does not care
what we think about or who we love.
It knows our true substance,
of what we are really made.
I stand my ground on this ground,
this ground which will
recruit us all
to its side.

"Patriotism" by Ellie Schoenfeld, from The Dark Honey. © Clover Valley Press, 2009.

Photography credit: Detail from "Hands Planting a Yam into the Soil," by


  1. This was a new poet to me. I liked the poem enough to google Ellie Schoenfeld and read articles about her. I found a few more poems by her on internet sites. That clinched it for me. I found as many of her books as I could and purchased them. Thanks for introducing me to her.

    1. You're very welcome. Funny how that happens sometimes--stumbling onto a poet who really speaks to us.... Enjoy making Ellie Schoenfeld's acquaintance!

  2. I found this poem on a friend's kitchen clipboard about 3 years ago. Made a copy which has been hanging on a door of my house that I use every day and I read the poem every day. Its even more relevant to me today than it was three years ago. Thank you Elle.


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