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Posts Tagged ‘Passionate Shepherd to His Love’

Tuesday’s Double Delight

April 10, 2012 3 comments
Title page of the earliest published text of E...

Title page of the earliest published text of Edward II (1594) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’ve come back to Two-For-Tuesday on Poetic Asides. This morning’s prompt calls for a poem about a Forest and one about a Tree.

Pastoral poetry has a long history around the world, both as metaphor and as observational verse. The Poetry Foundation says this about this verse form.

Verse in the tradition of Theocritus (3 BCE), who wrote idealized accounts of shepherds and their loves living simple, virtuous lives in Arcadia, a mountainous region of Greece. Poets writing in English drew on the pastoral tradition by retreating from the trappings of modernity to the imagined virtues and romance of rural life, as in Edmund Spenser’s The Shepheardes Calendar, Christopher Marlowe’s “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love,” and Sir Walter Ralegh’s response, “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd.” The pastoral poem faded after the European Industrial Revolution of the 18th century, but its themes persist in poems that romanticize rural life or reappraise the natural world; see Leonie Adams’s“Country Summer,” Dylan Thomas’s “Fern Hill,” or Allen Ginsberg’s “Wales Visitation.”Browse more pastoral poems.

Some of us continue to write about those sublime, still pools populated with lilies like freckles on a lady’s cheek. We enjoy finding new and different ways to express the feeling experienced within the deep woods while spring rains moisturize the earth and wild ginger puts out its sweet scent to rival the subtle hint of redbud blossoms and dogwood earthiness.

There are also cowboys out there who produce some terrific verse about life on the plain, gardeners who speak to their labors and rewards, and fishermen who wax eloquent about reeling in hard and losing face and fish at the last second.

Verse about nature themes, love, and virtues could blanket the earth several times over if stretched end to end and side by side. Poets won’t let it die out, anymore than epic style will ever disappear. Sometimes everyone needs to be reminded of things other than strife and worry.

Therefore, I’ve plunged into this prompt pool feet first. The first poem is about the forest, and the last deals with the single tree. I hope all can enjoy these small offerings on this poet’s plate.

Within the Hollow

Peepers call across sun-dappled greens,

Tiny echoes of lives spent unseen in trees.

A brook, shallow and meandering,

Carries a fallen leaf on a journey through

Villages of mushroom houses, where

Does dwell toads and skinks, diminutive folk who

Reap the bounty from forest caches.

Sweet treasures Nature provides for food.

Ancient trees soar above, granting peeks.

Sky clouds act as shutters on God’s camera,

Dimming or brightening as needs be,

To see small creatures and life’s minor doings.

Green fosters cool breezes, teasing all

With tickles of scent, moisture, and sound,

Making calm for growing peace among

Those who walk here to meet with God.

Call Him Black Jack

He’d stood in his corner for nigh on fifty years,

A tall specimen of strength and endurance,

Weathering storms that stripped others of all they owned,

Though he barely noticed a slight breeze passing by.

Many had come to him through those long years,

Children would climb up his body to look him in the eye.

Other’s sat quietly, speaking of their loneliness or dreams,

While never asking for his opinion or his approval.

She came, placed her hand on his side, and breathed deep.

On a sigh she whispered, “Hello, Black Jack. You’re still here.”

She patted him, laying her head on his bare skin, and relaxed.

“I see you’re still vigorous, with many children,” she whispered.

The woman saw thousands of acorns scattered at her feet,

She’d planted Jack to chronicle a family history,

One woven of love and promise, care and hope eternal.

Now history returned, one left to remember this oak tree.

© Claudette J. Young 2012