Francis Jammes


The Farmer's Daughter


And the Church bells rang merrily, for they
Rang o'er the farmer's daughter's wedding-day.
The Church rang o'er the glorious August maize,
Rang o'er the dry, red thatch in summer's blaze,
Over the peace of barns rang out the bells,
Rang over sheds and shippons, rang o'er wells
That stirred the silence with their rusty chain,
Rang over corn-lofts heaped with golden grain,
Rang o'er the threshing-engine's puffing snort,
Rang over wenches rosy-cheeked and swart
Running to see the wedding, rang and throbbed
With bridal ecstasies that sang and sobbed,
And rang above the sleepy oxen who
Stopped puzzled, lifting their pale horns unto
Those hearts of the hedge the roses of Bengal.
And tumblers swelled their backs upon the wall,
And, diapered as water is, with their
Spurred, rosy feet cut through the azure air.
And the farmer's daughter, like an opening flower,
Stood on the steps and waited for the hour,
Swaying among the cackling hens and cocks.
And the bells rang and rang. You heard the shocks
Of all the peals ringing along the hills.
And with the wedding-guests the garden fills.
And now they form, and in procession slow
After the pallid bride the maidens go.
A simple music the procession led,
And the poet praised God in his heart, and said:
Thus to the Promised Land of old departed
Rebecca proud and brave and tender-hearted.
Times have not changed if you the Father love.
Perhaps this is the well you bent above,
O Rachel, when you freed your heavy hair
Upon your hands, and Jacob watched you there,
From the palm's shadow, all your hair unrolled,
And your firm cheeks like burnished fruits of gold.

Submitted: Thursday, November 08, 2012

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