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Caroline Boutard

Caroline Bountard

Each Leaf Singing


Caroline Boutard was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and spent her early life in New England. She spent many years working with plants at the botanic garden where she met her husband, Anthony, and while building gardens for others. She was Denise Levertov’s gardener while they both lived in Somerville, Massachusetts, though most of what they discussed was the terrible state of Denise’s backyard soil.

She lives in Gaston, Oregon, where she and Anthony run Ayers Creek Farm. Caroline holds a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from Pacific University.


Each Leaf Singing

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Poem from Each Leaf Singing

A Farming Education

Planting potatoes in the early spring soil,
I practice the arc of my own reach and balance,
the strength I can count on to lift the pail,
the right measure of a pace
as I bend, step, bend along a five-hundred-foot row,
placing each soft, tan soul right-side up.

Awkward in city rooms now,
clothes not feeling right,
I sit carefully on the edge of the chair,
reach for my cup with rough hands
and talk about city things,
trying to remember the trick of it.

People ask with a hopeful tone,
my kind friends who worry,
what sort of work we are doing these days
and if we miss our city life—
I think potatoes
and the memory rings in my chest like a bell.