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Wednesday 18 April 2012

Cornfield by Moonlight, with the Evening Star : Samuel Palmer

This is the night creation changed.
Earth mirrored in the moon -
was ever moon this large and silvered,
or so gorged with light - too much
to play its usual game, reflecting sun's?
It spills its surplus on the hills.
The hills absorb it and become
a little more celestial, less part of earth.

Intensity of star - as bright
as any seen at Bethlehem - is surely
omen, magic sign or devilish illusion...
The farmhand feels it,
threat or promise,
looks up towards the Earth.
A changed perception fits him for
this new reality.

For dogs, of course,
Earth lies where it has always lain -
beneath the feet; runs,
fur-wrapped, through the stubble
and among the stooks. But even so,
an eye and ear are cocked
in case the moon
is on collision course with Earth.

Or is this merely
what the farmhand sees,
a vision that is his alone,
not open to the likes of us?
Or something that perhaps
the dog can smell? The sweetness
of the cut corn? A sharpness under foot?
Did Palmer sense it in the flow of paint?

The image is from Wikipedia.


Rachel Green said...


I've always had a soft spot for Palmer.

Bijaylaxmi said...

Great imagery......:)

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Engaging questions but the masterstroke is what you captured of the dogs' very soul. Absolutely perfect and haunting. "Fur-wrapped...eye and ear cocked..." I have always felt their alertness much more developed than the human, their readiness so absolute.

Kat Mortensen said...

That is quite a painting and you're right to bring Bethlehem into this; I am absolutely reminded of the shepherds and THAT star.
I love the stanza from the dog-perspective.
A rel winner here, Dave.

Tabor said...

We do all see the world as a very different place. Reminds me of the blindmen and the elephant routine.

Ygraine said...

I love the way you've captured the many aspects of the one reality here, Dave.
Maybe I'm alone in this, but I have found genuine Moon Magic in your words and that never fails to speak directly to my Soul.
I also like the way you suddenly change tack with the dog-perspective.
There is a great deal we can learn from animals.
A brilliantly-written tribute to imagination :)

Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful painting, haunting poem too. k>

Windsmoke. said...

Very enjoyable indeed, i especially like the line "Earth Mirrored in the Moon" in the first stanza :-).

haricot said...

I like your way that you let fit the great cosmic story to the daily matters.

Dave King said...

I share your affection for him. Thanks.

Thanks for commenting, you are most welcome.

Yes, I felt from the off that the dog should play a major part. Thanks.

Thanks once more for your kind words and encouragement.

Yes, I do agree. Exactly so!

I don't know if you're alone, but dreams are an important part of reality for me - and I quite often find myself wondering how animals see and think about the world. I'm sure ours is not the only reality.

Thank you for saying so, your comments are always very much appreciated.

Mama Zen
Kind of you to say so. Thank you.

Thanks Windsmoke. It was what drew me to the painting in the first place - in preference to a dozen or so thers of his paintings, that is.

My thanks for this. It is a great encouragement.

Kat Mortensen said...

Ha! Re: your spammer, that's a first! I've never heard of biking for the Lord!

JeannetteLS said...

(I've had the same spam, but it did not hit my comments, just my email.)

The last two stanzas brought dog and farmer together, and brought the poem home beautifully to me.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Love your words - all beautifully illustrate the depth of the painting. Excellent!

Anna :o]

Jenny Woolf said...

A wonderful mysterious poem for a wonderful mysterious picture. I like the idea of the earth as furry, but it matches the picture.

Kymberlee Harrison said...

I really enjoyed this one.