Deliberate Agrarian
Snippet #11

By John Updike

Dateline:  24 April 2014

I sometimes fear the younger generation 
will be deprived 
of the pleasures of hoeing;
there is no knowing
how many souls have been formed 
by this simple exercise.

The dry earth like a great scab breaks, revealing
moist-dark loam—
the pea-root's home,
a fertile wound perpetually healing.

How neatly the green weeds go under!
The blade chops the earth new.
Ignorant the wise boy who
has never rendered thus the world fecunder.

—John Updike

“Fecunder” is a variation of the word, “fecund,” which is rarely used these days. Fecund means fruitful, fertile, or prolific. So fecunder would therefore mean more fruitful, more fertile or more prolific.

That final phrase, "ignorant the wise boy who has never rendered thus the world fecunder," appears to reflect the author's opinion that there is a connection between true wisdom and the work of agriculture. And that a more complete education for children would include working in the garden. I like that.


Sharon said...

Your blog has certainly enriched my wisdom - or at least knowledge. The wisdom comes from the actual work I think. Thanks for the explanation of "fecunder". I was about to click the address bar to go to to look that up. I like your comment about the author's opinion of true wisdom. I agree.

Everett said...

I like hoeing as long as I can keep ahead of the weeds. I use a long handled swan neck hoe and a diamond shaped headed one. It has a small 4"handle set at 90 degrees to the main handle. Works very well but for the life of me I cannot think of the name! Duh! Getting to old to fast! Best, Everett