The Ploughman

By: ailsaandlisa

Sep 25 2011

Category: ekphrasis, poem


Focal Length:42mm
Shutter:1/0 sec

(from the painting by Brueghel, ‘The Fall of Icarus’)

It’s always my favourite field
this one.
I look forward to it for months,
save it till last.

There’s alot of looking down in this job.
I see more of my feet
than I might wish.

But up here you’re
on top of the world.
I bet the King of Naples
hasn’t got a better view than this.

The sea blue and green together,
the ruined fort, the mighty cliffs,
the city,
the ships blowing out their sails
like giant sea birds.

Pretty as a picture.

I don’t stop and stare, mind.
I know it’s there,
I can see it around me
without looking right at it.

I make the furrows straight
like I was taught.
The blade slices the earth
like roasted meat.

Fresh turned soil is
the best smell
in the world.

Old Giacomo hangs around
with his blasted bleating sheep.
He likes to pass the time of day
but nothing takes my mind off my work.

One day he said
there was someone drowning.
I didn’t stop to look.
Another idiot who thought he could swim.

I’ve almost reached the edge now.
Then I’ll rest in the shade,
and there’ll be olives
and bread
and wine.


2 comments on “The Ploughman”

  1. I have had many dreams of living on the Italian hillside overlooking the Bay of Naples with a farmhouse, beautiful woman and good wine….sigh….one day. Can relate to this painting and your fascination with it.

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