Yours In The Land: Maria Duynisveld – An Open Heart Poet

This is the latest installment in our series, “Yours in the Land”, written by Mary Ellen.  Mary Ellen is a farm kid at heart.  She is a Food Action Committee member and a poet who’s passionate about farm and food issues.  She collected the poems for Open Heart Farming.

John Burns, John, and Maria Duynisfeld delivering their meat and eggs at Henry St., Halifax.

At age 11, Maria was the youngest contributor to ‘Open Heart Farming.’  Along with her parents John and Jane, and brother John Burns, she farms Holdanca Farms near Pugwash, NS.  (Her father John is a highly respected farmer and is featured in an ‘Adventures in Food’ blog post, “Farm Profile: Holdanca Farms“.)

Maria wrote: “I work at our farm all the time, and I used to have a small stand at the Farmers Market, where my cousins and I sold homemade dog treats.  I also have been involved in 4H since I was 7.  I submitted my poem because our farm is a big part of my life, it’s where I spend most of my time and is my favourite place on earth.”

Maria loves writing poetry and is very active in 4-H.  In early September her father wrote: “Both of my children took part in the in the 4-H show at the county exhibition last week. They did very well and had a lot of fun.  Maria was reserve champion sheep showman (11 years old and her first year at it!) and had the champion environment project…”  She also placed well at this year’s Nova Scotia 4-H Provincial Show.  Congratulations Maria!

I love Maria’s poem!  There is a sense of wonder and deep affection when she speaks about her love for her farm.  Her poem is a wonderful example of writing from an “open heart.”  I was struck by how she very eloquently, in her own gentle way, expressed feelings similar to those I had for our farm when I was about her age.  I thank her for reminding me of that, for expressing the passion and promise of our young farmers, and for sharing her lovely poem.

Summer Haze
poem by Maria Duynisveld

The clover softly brushes my feet
Beside me runs my dog
And in the fields, some bleating sheep
Behind me croaks a lonely frog.
In my hand, a bucket swings
Heavy, full of grain
It will feed the many sheep
Who live across the lane.
Back in the barn, the red pig squeals
That greedy, funny sow
She must’ve found some table scraps
And is eating them right now.
This is the life, our little farm
Where we lose track of days
Where green grass grows and a small brook sings
In this lovely summer haze.

Yours in the Land,

Mary Ellen

‘Open Heart Farming’ is a collection of twenty poems about farm and food issues by poets across N.S.  It is a special issue of ‘Open Heart Forgery’ and is available at

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