harvest’s song

“The Harvest” by Camille Pissarro

She’ll come at dusky first of day,
White over yellow harvest’s song.
Upon her dewy rainbow way
She shall be beautiful and strong.
The lidless eye of noon shall spray
Tan on her ankles in the hay,
Shall kiss her brown the whole day long.

I’ll know her in the windrows, tall
Above the crickets of the hay.
I’ll know her when her odd eyes fall,
One May-blue, one November-grey.
I’ll watch her from the red barn wall
Take down her rusty scythe, and call,
And I will follow her away.

~ Francis Ledwidge
(August)

12 thoughts on “harvest’s song”

  1. Looks like hard work … especially in all those long skirts, ha! Not sure I’ve ever read this poem before. Thanks for introducing it to me, Barbara.

    1. You’re welcome, Debbie! I often wonder how people back then managed to work in the heat of summer with all those heavy clothes on…

  2. I was lucky to grow up in New York City because of our first class art museums like The Metropolitan in Central Park where all artists are represented. I also lived outside of Washington DC for 33 years and sent many days in several of the Smithsonian Museums devoted to the art world. Having access to many of the great works was a joy.

    The 3 years I spent in Germany in the USAF led me to many towns like Amsterdam for example. I hope you saw more than Athens in your time over there. Seeing the most beautiful art works in person is a memory I cherish and hope you did too.

    1. What wonderful memories you have, Ron. I enjoyed hearing about your experiences with art museums. It got me thinking about the day Beverly and I were driving down the Cape, passing all the art galleries on Rte. 6A, and suddenly realized that our parents had never taken us to an art museum or gallery. But we remembered the American Museum of Natural History in NYC and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in DC. They took us camping and hiking and bird watching. My memories of Greece are of hiking in the mountains and taking ferries to visit the islands. I don’t remember visiting any indoor museums, although we did hike up to see the Acropolis.

      As adults, my daughter and I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC to satisfy her desire to see the sculptures of Auguste Rodin. My sister-in-law and I visited the National Gallery of Art in DC one year. She was keen to show me the collection of Italian paintings, after spending so many years living in Italy. Both breathtaking experiences…

      And Tim and I went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, to see “Dance at Bougival” by Renoir. It was much larger than I expected, life-sized! I had an intense moment of transcendence. Time seemed to be standing still and at the same time the dancing couple was moving. They were as alive as could be. The colors were vivid. It was an unforgettable experience!

    1. Thank you, Linda! I can’t get over how huge those fields are and how long it must take to bring the harvest in.

      1. My maternal great grandparents had a farm in Ariss, Ontario. It was a small rural community near Guelph. My mother would tell me when she was young, her father took his vacation and the whole family went to the farm to help harvest the crops. Her mom and her picked berries and helped “putting up” preserves, etc. They also helped the neighboring farmers who would each set aside time to help their neighbors so everyone got their crops harvested/done the last few weeks of August. A very nice camaraderie.

        1. There were so many networks of mutual trust and friendship in those days. It’s wonderful your mother remembered and shared her harvest-time stories with you. My father grew up on a small farm during the Great Depression and I always loved listening to him and my aunts reminisce about those days. When I was little my grandfather lived with us and sometimes, for dinner, he would slaughter a chicken with an axe on a stump in our back yard. One of my more vivid childhood memories… Farmers understood better than most where their food came from.

          1. Yes, my mom told me a lot of stories and I enjoyed them immensely. My mom did not care for her grandfather as he was quite grumpy and had no use for kids. Just like your grandfather slaughtering a chicken, my mom would tell me how her grandmother would tell him to get her a chicken for dinner. I think you grown up fast when you’re a kid and exposed to this rural way of life.

          2. My grandfather was grumpy, too, and often waved that axe at my sister and me, shouting at us in Ukrainian, when we played near his piles of brush in the woods. He had no use for girls. Poor man had four daughters, and his only son, my father, had two daughters. Apparently in the old country they kept their forests tidy by regularly cutting back the underbrush.

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