parsnips, root vegetables, parsley root

Such tiny discs, paper thin:
most blow away on the wind
and seeds that stick sit tight and wait
before deciding to germinate.

But those that wake in this clay soil
push tiny tendrils of green foil
upwards and then unfurling
greet the sky as rosettes swirling.

And creamy root pushes down
anchoring sweetness into ground
that nurtures growth, whilst I tend
uneven rows from start to end.

As the seasons wax and wane
you ask to dig them, I explain
that these will be worth the wait:
our parsnips – from fork to plate.

Today’s winter frost released its hold.
You lifted tubers sweet and gold
and I smiled maternal pride and joy:
parsnips grown and grown up boy.


By Jane Houben

Jane Houben is a British writer. She is also a carer and the ‘grown up boy’ in the poem is her 22 year old son who has Severe Learning Difficulties and loves eating parsnips. Her poems have been published by Paper Nations and Visual Verse and set to music in a collaboration with Echoes & Edges. Instagram: @virtual_fiction