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.
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 circles. Michelle Sites on Rosemary Dobson: http://www.brandl.com.au/Authors/Rosemary_Dobson/Dobson.htm http://www.nla.gov.au/pub/rdobson.html