An extended metaphor of a potato growing shoots in the dark.

A poem about tenacity, effort, will and endurance.

This is one of my favourites. I almost didn’t share it here, because I didn’t want to risk anyone speaking ill of it. I love the idiosyncratic syntax and punctuation, which I think adds a lot and is not mere affectation. It doesn’t always make literal sense, but does make metaphysical sense – at least to me.

I often chant the first line to myself in times of challenge.


by May Swenson

Deciding to go on digging doing it
what they said outside wasn’t any use
Inside hiding it made it get ambitious
Like a potato in a dark bin
it grew white grabbers for light
out of its navel eyes not priding
itself much just deciding
it wasn’t true what they said
outside those bumps were

All humped. alike dumped inside
slumped in burlap said
roots are no good out of ground
a fruit’s crazy to want to be a flower
Besides it’s sin changing the given shape
Bursting the old brown skin is suicide
wishing to taste like a tulip
sip coloured light
outside thumps said isn’t right

Deciding to keep on striding
from inside bursting the bin-side
poking out wishes for delicious opposites
turning blind eyes to strong fingers
touching meaning more than sight
the naval scars of weaning
used for something finally
Deciding to go on digging doing it.