Sunday, 5 August 2012

Poets & Harvests!

       I often wondered how my high school English teacher could say with such certainty what a 17th or 18th century poet meant in the cloaked verses of our anthologies! In fact in my final English exam I remember phrasing some of my answers to reflect these doubts with comments like, The poet may have been referring to…. or, it’s possible that the poet was thinking…. and in one answer, our teacher said that……, but I think …..! Maybe that’s why my grade was not as high as I’d hoped!

        While standing at the bottom of a harvested barley field early in the morning with patient Bella at my feet, I tapped these words into my Blackberry memo pad:

Crass naked stalks where golden barley e’er did wave in gentle breezes
Hard huddling hollow brown and yellow clumps bereft of
childhood games.
But to the sun whose light is golden,
still a beauty lies beside
dark guardian trees and passing clouds;
admired by those who see beneath the discipline
of necessity.

It was a beautiful fresh sunny morning with the sun weaving in and out of grey-white clouds and it struck me that we often speak of ‘golden barley fields’ (immortalised by Sting!) but usually it’s the before-harvest picture! So to see that harvested field with the sun lighting it up was a beautiful scene. At that point my mind was not on ‘lessons of life’ or ‘deeper meanings’! I just wanted to describe what was before me in poetic language.

Maybe one day this 21st century poem will be read by high school students trying to find what the poet was trying to say, and I hope that their teacher will allow them to guess at any possibilities but also point out the incredible beauty of God’s creation around us all and how to express it for themselves!

(photo from via Google images)

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