Relatives Poems: 14 / 500

Letter

Rating: 2.9

You can see it already: chalks and ochers;
Country crossed with a thousand furrow-lines;
Ground-level rooftops hidden by the shrubbery;
Sporadic haystacks standing on the grass;
Smoky old rooftops tarnishing the landscape;
A river (not Cayster or Ganges, though:
A feeble Norman salt-infested watercourse);
On the right, to the north, bizarre terrain
All angular--you'd think a shovel did it.
So that's the foreground. An old chapel adds
Its antique spire, and gathers alongside it
A few gnarled elms with grumpy silhouettes;
Seemingly tired of all the frisky breezes,
They carp at every gust that stirs them up.
At one side of my house a big wheelbarrow
Is rusting; and before me lies the vast
Horizon, all its notches filled with ocean blue;
Cocks and hens spread their gildings, and converse
Beneath my window; and the rooftop attics,
Now and then, toss me songs in dialect.
In my lane dwells a patriarchal rope-maker;
The old man makes his wheel run loud, and goes
Retrograde, hemp wreathed tightly round the midriff.
I like these waters where the wild gale scuds;
All day the country tempts me to go strolling;
The little village urchins, book in hand,
Envy me, at the schoolmaster's (my lodging),
As a big schoolboy sneaking a day off.
The air is pure, the sky smiles; there's a constant
Soft noise of children spelling things aloud.
The waters flow; a linnet flies; and I say: "Thank you!
Thank you, Almighty God!"--So, then, I live:
Peacefully, hour by hour, with little fuss, I shed
My days, and think of you, my lady fair!
I hear the children chattering; and I see, at times,
Sailing across the high seas in its pride,
Over the gables of the tranquil village,
Some winged ship which is traveling far away,
Flying across the ocean, hounded by all the winds.
Lately it slept in port beside the quay.
Nothing has kept it from the jealous sea-surge:
No tears of relatives, nor fears of wives,
Nor reefs dimly reflected in the waters,
Nor importunity of sinister birds.

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COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Edward Kofi Louis 01 June 2017

Flying across the ocean! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

1 2 Reply
Lantz Pierre 01 June 2017

A missive is it? Gathering up it's immediate surroundings, the tangible landscape all around, as if it were a painting by John Constable (which is exactly what it reminds me of) . And then the landscape begins to admit the first person, the author. The letter writer takes his place to give the painting a sense of intimacy. A scale that tells the reader this is personal: I am here. Once established more voices and people enter the fray. The perspective broadens, reaching outwards, encompassing others that brings a sense of warmth and familiarity. An adventure in the offing. A romance blossoming as the man acknowledges the woman for whom he writes his letter. The letter that bravely gives wings (sails?) to his imagination to fly and cover any distance as his heart is lifted by this missive and its intended recipient. A remarkable journey.

1 1 Reply
Bernard F. Asuncion 01 June 2017

Flying across the ocean..... thanks for posting.....

1 8 Reply
Rajnish Manga 01 June 2017

Breath-taking landscape where the hustle bustle of village life comes alive. Fine expression: All day the country tempts me to go strolling; The little village urchins, book in hand, Peacefully, hour by hour, with little fuss, I shed My days, and think of you, my lady fair!

2 1 Reply