Guest poem submitted by Stefan Bartels:
(Poem #1457) Spring Song, Meirionydd
A white combustion rules these fields, and testifies to men, and rams; the mind of winter thaws, and yields-- Great God, the world is drunk with lambs. The high grey stone is clean of snows, the streams come tumbling, far from dams; the wind is green, the day's eye grows-- Great God, the world is drunk with lambs. The heart, gone light as all the ewes, redounds with milk, and epigrams that make no sense; except their news-- Great God, the world is drunk with lambs. In gold October, grown to size, they'll know the hook, and hang with hams, but March is all their enterprise-- Great God, the world is drunk with lambs.
While staying at a school in North Wales on an exchange program, I stumbled upon this poem in an old school reader. I haven't been able to find any information about John Dressel -- the name doesn't sound Welsh, anyway -- but the poem still reminds me of the lambing on the Welsh hillsides in late February and early March. The world is really "drunk with lambs" then. Dressel maintains a fine balance between a nature poem and an ironic, sceptical poem. Nature is abundant, but man is always in the picture from the second line in the first to the second line in the fourth stanza. Seemingly a negligible detail, man is yet the most momentous influence on the life of lambs, which, I think, come across more as ignorant than innocent in this poem. The buoyant rhythm and indomitable metaphors keep this poem from being just another complaint about cruelty to animals. It is uplifting, not pessimistic. Stefan. [Minstrels Links] Wales: Poem #14, Prologue -- Dylan Thomas Poem #138, Fern Hill -- Dylan Thomas Poem #175, I am Taliesin -- Anon. (Welsh, 13th century) Poem #270, Under Milk Wood -- Dylan Thomas Poem #333, Gnomic Stanzas -- Anon. (Welsh, 12th century) Poem #374, Psalm Of the Valleys -- Alex Pascall Lambs, sheep and other Similar Characters: Poem #120, The Purple Cow -- Gelett Burgess Poem #424, The Moonsheep -- Christian Morgenstern Poem #507, The Sheep-Child -- James Dickey Poem #1080, The Lama -- Ogden Nash