Grain Change


Grain Change

A grain first measured
rain, soil, sun,
toil spent
till day was done–
the weight of growth,
a beat in the food canon.

But in the long wait
for growth,
in the way that men
turn earth,
a grain became
the measure of gunpowder,
the weight of what
makes cannon fodder,
the mass
of bullets,
and itself sows men, sows women,
their days done,
for they don’t grow–
these sons, these daughters–
no matter the toil, the soil,
the rain.


Another poem inspired by Kerry O’ Connor’s prompt  “In Other Words” on With Real Toads and also Mary’s prompt on dVerse Poets Pub about news. (I’m thinking here of all the mass graves found in rural areas of beautiful Guerrero, Mexico in a search for missing student protesters; the graves do not appear to belong to the students who are still missing.) (Though I have another poem in mind for Mary’s prompt, if I can just get it written! So may not link this one. )

A grain is in fact a measure of gunpowder and bullets.   It’s also a weight sometimes used to measure gold and diamonds, which certainly opens a bunch of poetic possibilities (!)  But I wanted to keep this poem short for a change–just couldn’t stand to go there.

I’ve changed the title of this post since first posting.

Finally, hate to be such a promoter, but if you have a moment,  do check out my new novel, Nice.PP Native Cover_4696546_Front Cover

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15 Comments on “Grain Change”

  1. Colleen Says:

    A grain of gunpowder is like the seed of war. It goes against my grain too.

  2. brian miller Says:

    interesting play on the grain…my immediate thought went to earth science as we are doing the rock cycle…the binding of sediments…and then in reading on how we bind sediments or grains into our needs or tools…and what we choose to use them for…so sad on mass graves…ugh.

  3. Justin Lamb Says:

    This has a nice flow to it. I like how you switched to other uses of grain seamlessly. Well done.

  4. This piece felt so powerful to me–a grain of gunpowder–the contrast is striking!

  5. Wow! It begins with grains planted to sustain life and ends with grains of gunpowder planted to bring death…Amazing piece

  6. The growth of the food cannon becoming the non- growth of the death cannon is such a stark image.

  7. margaret Says:

    grains …. life giving and those that bring death. Yes, one could make this a very long poem.

  8. ayala Says:

    A full circle in life and death…the grains that bring life and the gunpowder that brings death…

  9. Kim Says:

    Never knew this meaning of grain. Thank you, Karin, for the enlightenment and the perspective you offer with this one.

  10. Sumana Roy Says:

    o my….this is awesome!!!….life and light contrasted with death and darkness in powerful metaphors…

  11. The connection between the living grain and the grave through bullets and lead .. what sadness and how unnecessary to value death higher than life

  12. grapeling Says:

    a sharp observation – so much more so than that which passes as news these days ~

  13. othermary Says:

    So eloquently put… we do seem to keep pounding our plow shares into swords, and guns, etc.

  14. shanyns Says:

    I love this. For a few reasons. Your photo reminds me of a Bev Doolittle painting, more there to see than found at first glance.

    And for your words. Powerfully woven together. Thanks for the post script. 🙂

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