I own a copy of the Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms, entitled The Making of a Poem, to which I sometimes refer. In the third section, it devotes a chapter to the elegy, the pastoral and the ode, each with an overview and a great range of examples. I was flicking through to find a poem that would spark a prompt and came across a beautiful poem in the pastoral section.
The pastoral became popular in the sixteenth century. “On the surface, it appeared to be about an ornamental and sometimes fictional view of the rural and bucolic life. But huge questions lurked below that clear surface. In the pastoral mode poets could experiment with these questions.Was man made for nature or nature for man? Was the natural world to enter the poem as a realistic object or as a fictive projection of inner feelings?”
The pastoral poem developed from “shepherdesses and tidy rural constructs… both an escape and an idea” through the unrest of the Industrial Revolution into the “wounded pastoral”, which became a place to “mourn for and celebrate rural life”. In the twentieth century, it lamented urban intrusion, celebrated urban hubris, speculated the future and developed into eco-poetry.
|Image found on Goodreads|
What I love about this poem is that, on the surface, it is indeed a pastoral poem with imagery taken from a typical rural scene: the light in the barn, the cricket, the fox and the woman getting ready to knit, all moving towards evening and then night, gently and quietly. But when you discover that the poem alludes to the creeping cancer that took the life of the poet’s friend, and find out also that the poet was bipolar, it takes on new meanings.
This weekend, I would like you to write a new pastoral poem about evening, the shift from late afternoon through twilight to the black shed of night, following the format of Jane Kenyon’s poem, but no more than six tercets.
N.B. All quotations in this prompt come from The Making of a Poem.
Join in by clicking on Mister Linky and filling in your name and url – not forgetting to tick the small ‘data’ box. And please remember to read and comment on other toads’ poems.
Good morning!! I didn't want to be first but I'll try going back to sleep. Been sitting on the edge of the bed, Android in hand, mind and muse to fingers keying.
Kim, I appreciate this lesson and opportunity. Though I am old I consider myself a novice. I'm often cheered when some tells me, "You don't look that old." Next best in warming to you all reading and leaving me a comment.
Such a beautiful poem, Kim. I am still doubling up on prompts during this busy month, so will attempt to combine this idea with that of Sanaa's midweek prompt. I feel that they compliment one another very well.
That is such a beautiful Poem, Kim. Even more so when I read your explanation of the meanings behind it. Wow. I love that time of day very much. Will give it a whirl.
I apologise for my lateness to welcome you all to the prompt. I went into the fine city of Norwich to meet a friend in need, not realising today was the Norwich Pride march, and I've only just got home! I'm delighted you like the poem I chose and am looking forward to reading your responses shortly. I'll just make myself something to eat and I'll be right back!
That is such a beautiful poem! I will read more by Jane Kenyon and will try to write my own, but it may be difficult for me....
Thank you for this challenge ....
A very comforting time was spent reminiscing for this poem...
Interesting where my mind went this time, I began writing about childhood summers working on my grandparent’s farm, that morphed into growing up, adulthood traumas, Vietnam, watching videos of the Danang Marine Base hospital where my then husband was then stationed ... and hours later you guessed it ~~ my poem. It was cathartic.
Kim, as always a lovely prompt. Thank you!
Really lovely, Kim, thank you. I managed a quick sketch, and will be out of sorts for a couple days but look forward to catching up on these pastoral offerings mid-week.
Hi Kim. I'm afraid I didn't have much luck finding the challenge when I looked (albeit briefly) earlier today and then of course, just found the link posted on your blog. Sunday is my day of interruptio and this particular Sunday being a scorcher (and our apartment having a nice outdoor pool) family 'stopovers' were even more the case, than usual.
I am linking very late in the day (as I've just said my good-byes to the last of the swimmers) but I'll pop by tomorrow to read and comment. Thanks for thinking of me.
Love the essence of this prompt Kim, as evening is a special time to me. And the poem was simply splendid! I was distracted by a weekend visit from our Oregon family, so this is way damned late — but better than never... I hope!
Read all the contributions to the prompt Kim, but given the majority were Blogger sites that would not accept my comments, I was not able to offer much acknowledgement. Sorry!
One of my favorite poems from a favorite poet. Thank you.
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