Poem of the Week, by Muriel Rukeyser

Yesterday I opened a can of tomatoes, squished them through my fingers to break them up, added them to the soup, and suddenly pictured the long line of people who made this possible. The invisible humans who planted the seeds, watched over the growing plants, harvested the tomatoes, hauled them to the processing plant, trucked them to the store, stocked the shelf I plucked them from. The people who made the can, cast the iron pot, strung together the gas lines that feed my stove.

I happily eat alone at restaurants and bars, go to movies alone, travel thousands of miles and across oceans alone, work alone, spend much of my time alone. But still, my life is entirely dependent on the decency of people I don’t know and will never know. Every time I read this poem I think about that.

Islands, Muriel Rukeyser

O for God’s sake
they are connected

They look at each other
across the glittering sea
some keep a low profile

Some are cliffs
The bathers think
islands are separate like them

For more information about Muriel Rukeyser, please click here.

Words by Winter: my podcast