Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Heavenless Crop

The first line of "Tobacco" reads: "The tobacco crops have no heaven."  The speaker says the tobacco has no father, no harvest.  The speaker wanders its rows "in search of sustenance" but "find[s] nothing but hunger in their green stretch" (Harris 5). 

Is there nothing but hunger in the tobacco because it is meant to be smoked not eaten, does this statement suggest that it is an unsuccessful crop, or does it suggest that the tobacco once smoked always leaves its user searching for something else?  For his own god, perhaps?  A god other than a godless crop? 

After the tobacco is dried and rolled and smoked and cursed for being gone or forsaken for being present, consumed mindlessly, mechanically, or consumed fervently, as almost a lover, where does it leave the men and women who smoke it?  Where does it leave the ones wandering its rows? 

Does the tobacco have no heaven because it wouldn't have a use for heaven?  Is heaven wasted on it?  Or does it have no heaven because it has no hope, because it is used by and uses others, as a snake that bites the heel that strikes its head?