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A Fine Thing -- Rosemary Dobson

Guest poem sent in by Michelle Chapman

The recent Wallace Stevens poem entitled "The Snow Man" immediately brought
this poem to mind.
(Poem #1434) A Fine Thing
 To be a scarecrow
 To lean all day in a bright field
 With a hat full
 Of bird's song
 And a heart of gold straw;
 With a sly wink for the farmer's daughter,
 When no one sees, and small excursions;
 Returning after
 To a guiltless pose of indolence.

 A fine thing
 to be a figurehead
 with a noble brow
 On a ship's prow
 And a look to the end of the world;
 With the sad sounds of wind and water
 And only a stir of air for thinking;
 The timber cutting
 The green waves, and the foam flashing.

 To be a snowman
 Lost all day in deep thought
 With a head full
 Of snowflakes
 And no troubles at all,
 With an old pipe and six buttons,
 And sometimes children in woollen gaiters;
 But mostly lonely,
 A simple fellow, with no troubles at all.
-- Rosemary Dobson
This poem may not show the same depth and complexity of Wallace Stevens, but
for me it raises the same themes... it has a gently nostalgic tone, it is
easy to engage with, and yet underneath the cheerful self sufficiency of its
images it, too, carries the same unspoken themes identified in the Wallace
Stevens poem: "the misery of human condition; the natural, emotional bond
between man and nature, the "emptiness within" of the twentieth century
man." Where the Stevens poem ends with a desolate, inevitable emptiness "the
same wind ... blowing in the same bare place", Rosemary Dobson's snowman is
an optimistic figure, untroubled by his loneliness. Satisfied to be nothing.
Wanting nothing more. A hopeful acceptance of the emptiness within which may
yet lead to ... something (as it does for the scarecrow)!

Rosemary Dobson is an Australian poet, born in Sydney in 1920. She has
published 13 books of poetry but is relatively unknown outside academic


Sites on Rosemary Dobson:

44 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

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