Guest poem submitted by P. G. Murthy:
(Poem #429) In Time of 'The Breaking Of Nations'
Only a man harrowing clods In a slow silent walk With an old horse that stumbles and nods Half asleep as they stalk. Only thin smoke without flame From the heaps of couch-grass; Yet this will go onward the same Though Dynasties pass. Yonder a maid and her wight Come whispering by: War's annals will cloud into night Ere their story die.
This is a great poem; it stills the heart and makes one pause and think of the lone farmer standing by his plough watching the years and the centuries go past with all their futility. How often we see at level crossings when the train speeds by the farmer and his animals waiting patiently: "He sees with unseeing eyes". Hardy saw such a scene in Cornwall in 1870 and for forty years this lay dormant till 1915 when this sentiment surfaced to take the shape of these three lovely verses. I can only quote : "In this poem Hardy comments on the permanence of such simple things as work and love. Man must cultivate the earth so that he can eat, and he will continue to fall in love. Not even the madness of war can change these basic certainties ... a great truth, [stated] simply and effectively." "Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war : for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms." -- Jeremiah 51:20 P. G. Murthy. [Administrivia] I'm off on vacation (and away from email) for 2 weeks, starting as soon as I send this message; however, Martin will cover for me while I'm gone. thomas.