Becketwood Cooperative
An Active, Independent 55+ Community of Owners in Minneapolis

Ode Gold

by Eunice Milbrath, Becketwood Member

Written in 1970

I will plant dozens of raspberry bushes!
I will invite the raspberry lovers among my friends to come
To gorge themselves
To feast until they are full from this toothsome delight.

Until then
We are greedily savoring the abundance of two bushes
Enough for breakfast cereal
An occasional dessert
Even enough to freeze—if snatched away and furtively packaged.

So this red goodness lies frozen
Tantalizing taste buds
The icy blast of winter
Unlocks the sensory experience of the summer moment.

Each plump juicy berry
Ripening in the sultry heat of July
Needs to be picked.
Birds, long appreciated and studied
Now become my adversaries.

I want to be generous.
I think of Ruth and Naomi—
Their sustenance depended upon the goodness
Of the growers of grain.
Am I so merciless I cannot leave a few?

Yet they come
Chirping and swooping
Recklessly snapping off tender branches
Relentlessly pursuing their passion.

In their freedom and zest
They have discovered this rich red bounty.
Found good
They have brought their friends to the feast!

raspberry picker

“Raspberries have been called ‘Minnesota Gold.’” Eunice planted strawberries in her plot at Dowling Community Garden over the objections of the then administrator of the Gardens, who feared children would “steal” too many. Soon many gardeners, including the administrator, were putting berries in. Then Eunice put in a raspberry bush, and many followed her example—today raspberries flourish in the Garden, as well as in Becketwood’s Community raspberry plot, where Members and their grandchildren enjoy the “rich red bounty.”

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