A nonthreatening mix of the farmed and untamed wild edges, the countryside is more humble than grandiose. The relaxed landscape offers an alternative way of life. A slower pace. Idealized and intimate. The lure of sleepy towns and green as far as the eye can see is irresistible to many. There’s plenty of room for countryside poems.
In Alexander Pope‘s poem “The Quiet Life, ” we read about an isolated, yet fulfilling life. Pope paints this poem with pastoral images. This portrait of a simple, undisturbed existence ends as a sober depiction of identity.
The Quiet Life
Happy the man whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breath his native air
In his own ground.
Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire,
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.
Blest who can unconcern’dly find
Hours, days and years slide soft away,
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,
Sound sleep by night; study and ease,
Together mixt; sweet recreation;
And innocence, which most does please
Thus let me live, unseen, unknown,
Thus unlamented let me die,
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.
Write a poem about the countryside. Are you drawn to the quiet life or is it a little too quiet for your taste? Use your senses and write about what surrounds you (even if it’s in your imagination!).
Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s poetry prompt. Here’s a poem from Prasanta we enjoyed:
Photo by Greg Westfall. Creative Commons via Flickr.
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How to Write a Poem uses images like the buzz, the switch, the wave—from the Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”—to guide writers into new ways of writing poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology and prompts included.
“How to Write a Poem is a classroom must-have.”
—Callie Feyen, English Teacher, Maryland
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The Light of Steep Shoulders
You are the moon, the white glow
Bouncing off the wet pavement
You are red streaks of light shimmering on the road
Your heartbeat sets the rhythm
Keeps pace with an electric night
I can dodge shadows with the receding sun
Because you are a million flames
Like old wax candles burning in every window
You are a million diamonds glistening through glass
Flickering at the city below
I can find my way home when I close my eyes—
Yes, even then, in that kind of blindness
And sleep between your steep glittering shoulders —
Yes, even sleep peacefully
Because you keep watch through each blazing hour.