Romantic Images in Agrarian Life

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And children coming home from school Look in at the open door; They love to see the flaming forge, And hear the bellows roar, And catch the burning sparks that fly Like chaff from a threshing-floor. The lithograph above by Currier & Ives was inspired by Longfellow’s poem “The Village Blacksmith.” The image shows the village in muted tones surrounded by softly rendered trees, conveying a feeling of nostalgia of days gone by. Children gather around the blacksmith’s forge to watch him work. For your assignment, select one of the poems from that exemplifies the spirit of “romanticism.” Find an image, photo, or drawing (Google search) that visually demonstrates this spirit. As a reminder, the “romanticism” style: Values freedom and the democratic spirit Expresses admiration of everyday workers and common people Exalts and idealizes nature and the natural world Uses poetry as personal self-expression Insert your image into your document, and then write a 1-2 page [275-550 words] reflection. What elements of this poem do you connect with “romanticism”? How does the image you selected convey the spirit of “romanticism”? Explain. Be sure to provide details (quotes and examples) from the poem and image to support your ideas. Use MLA for in-text and works cited citations Agrarian Life and Craftspeople / Makers • • • • “The Village Blacksmith” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1840) “Needlework” by Hazel Hall (1920) “Hay for the Horses” by Gary Snyder (1958) “Hoeing” by John Updike (1963) “The Village Blacksmith” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1840) Under a spreading chestnut-tree ⁠The village smithy stands; The smith, a mighty man is he, With large and sinewy hands, And the muscles of his brawny arms Are strong as iron bands. His hair is crisp, and black, and long; His face is like the tan; His brow is wet with honest sweat, He earns whate'er he can, And looks the whole world in the face, For he owes not any man. Week in, week out, from morn till night, You can hear his bellows blow; You can hear him swing his heavy sledge, With measured beat and slow, Like a sexton ringing the village bell, When the evening sun is low. And children coming home from school Look in at the open door; They love to see the flaming forge, And hear the bellows roar, And catch the burning sparks that fly Like chaff from a threshing-floor. He goes on Sunday to the church, And sits among his boys; He hears the parson pray and preach, He hears his daughter's voice Singing in the village choir, And it makes his heart rejoice. It sounds to him like her mother's voice Singing in Paradise! He needs must think of her once more, How in the grave she lies; And with his hard, rough hand he wipes A tear out of his eyes. Toiling,—rejoicing,—sorrowing, Onward through life he goes; Each morning sees some task begin, Each evening sees it close; Something attempted, something done, Has earned a night's repose. Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend, For the lesson thou hast taught! Thus at the flaming forge of life Our fortunes must be wrought; Thus on its sounding anvil shaped Each burning deed and thought. “Needlework” by Hazel Hall (1920) I LENGTHS of lawn, and dimities, Dainty, smooth and cool— In their possibilities Beautiful— Stretch beneath my hand in sheets, Fragrant from the loom, 5 Like a field of marguerites All in bloom. Where my scissors’ footsteps pass Fluttering furrows break, As the scythe trails through the grass Its deep wake. 10 All my stitches, running fleet, Cannot match the tread Of my thoughts whose wingèd feet Race ahead. They are gathering imagery Out of time and space, That a needle’s artistry May embrace. 15 20 Hints of dawn and thin blue sky, Breaths the breezes bear, Wispy-waspy things that fly In warm air. Bolts of dimity I take, Muslin smooth and cool; These my fingers love to make Beautiful. 25 II Crowds are passing on the street— Tuck on tuck and pleat on pleat Of people hurrying along, Homeward bound—throng on throng. Their work is finished, mine undone; Still my stitches run. 30 I cannot watch the people go— Fold on fold and row on row; But I know each pulsing tread Is spinning out a life’s fine thread; I know the stars, like needle-gleams, Are pricking through the sky’s wide seams; And soon the moon must show its face, Like a pearl button stitched in place. All the long hours of the day Are finished now and folded away; 35 Yet the hem is still undone Where my stitches run. 45 “Hay for the Horses” by Gary Snyder (1958) He had driven half the night From far down San Joaquin Through Mariposa, up the Dangerous Mountain roads, And pulled in at eight a.m. With his big truckload of hay behind the barn. 40 With winch and ropes and hooks We stacked the bales up clean To splintery redwood rafters High in the dark, flecks of alfalfa Whirling through shingle-cracks of light, Itch of haydust in the sweaty shirt and shoes. At lunchtime under Black oak Out in the hot corral, ---The old mare nosing lunchpails, Grasshoppers crackling in the weeds--"I'm sixty-eight" he said, "I first bucked hay when I was seventeen. I thought, that day I started, I sure would hate to do this all my life. And dammit, that's just what I've gone and done." “Hoeing” by John Updike (1963) I sometimes fear the younger generation will be deprived of the pleasures of hoeing; there is no knowing how many souls have been formed by this simple exercise. The dry earth like a great scab breaks, revealing moist-dark loam -the pea-root's home, a fertile wound perpetually healing. How neatly the great weeds go under! The blade chops the earth new. Ignorant the wise boy who has never rendered thus the world fecunder.
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