(Poem #1134) In the Poppy Field
Mad Patsy said, he said to me, That every morning he could see An angel walking on the sky; Across the sunny skies of morn He threw great handfuls far and nigh Of poppy seed among the corn; And then, he said, the angels run To see the poppies in the sun. A poppy is a devil weed, I said to him - he disagreed; He said the devil had no hand In spreading flowers tall and fair Through corn and rye and meadow land, by garth and barrow everywhere: The devil has not any flower, But only money in his power. And then he stretched out in the sun And rolled upon his back for fun: He kicked his legs and roared for joy Because the sun was shining down: He said he was a little boy And would not work for any clown: He ran and laughed behind a bee, And danced for very ecstasy.
While browsing through the favourite poems collection at [broken link] http://www.photoaspects.com/chesil/favourites/index.html, I was surprised to see this unknown and rather trivial-seeming poem rubbing shoulders with the likes of Tennyson's Eagle and Coleridge's Kubla Khan. The anthologist's prepended note explained the poem's inclusion, saying that it was the *happiest* poem he knew - and while I was initially unconvinced, by the time I had finished reading the poem, sure enough, I couldn't resist a smile. It's hard to say just what makes this such a cheerful poem. It's not just the air of breezy exuberance - there's a charmingly innocent tone to it that reminds me of St. Exupery's "The Little Prince", an unaffected and altogether unselfconscious delight in life's pleasures that is a joy to read. It's also a very Irish poem, although it's hard to say exactly what I mean by that. martin p.s. And don't miss the interesting (aabcbcdd) rhyme scheme Links: Biography of Stephens: http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/people/A0846666.html` See also [broken link] http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Atlantis/7873/stephens.html A collection of links (from geometry.net): http://www.geometry.net/book_author/stephens_james.html We've run some of Stephens's translations before: Poem #171 Poem #185 (see also [broken link] http://omega.cc.umb.edu/~irish/april1998.htm)