From a City Dweller to Her Love [Poetry Friday]

Happy Poetry Friday! Welcome, everyone! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)

Sara’s daughter, Rebecca, who’s been joining us recently (yay!), posed our challenge this month: a pastoral. She wrote: Some inspiration from The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms: “The pastoral is central to poetry. In a simplified definition, it is that mode of poetry that sought to imitate and celebrate the virtues of rural life. […] By the end of the sixteenth century, and the start of the seventeenth, the pastoral convention had become one of the true intellectual engines of poetry. On the surface, it appeared to be about an ornamental and sometimes fictional view of the rural and bucolic life. But huge questions lurked below that clear surface. In the pastoral mode poets could experiment with these questions, some of which verged on a philosophical subversion of traditional religious themes in poetry. Was man made for nature or nature for man? Was the natural world to enter the poem as a realistic object or as a fictive projection of inner feelings? Would the natural world always enter the poem shadowed by the religious myths of the Garden of Eden and man’s fall?”

I was totally intimidated by this. I love nature poetry…not necessarily rural but wild, but I kind of struggled with this one. Still, a challenge is a challenge, so here’s what I ended up with. Not really a pastoral so much as a parody of a pastoral, but it’s all I’ve got.

Some of you might remember we moved from the suburbs to the city about a year ago. (This picture is taken from our front porch.) And there are SO many things I really do enjoy about it: living near the capitol building; living within a mile of my husband’s work; being much closer to many children’s literature events; easy access to concerts, museums, etc.; living in a more diverse city (though our previous townhome community was pretty diverse, too); and more. However, there is also some culture shock. City living is louder and more aggressive. Our street is generally pretty quiet, but sometimes there will be someone walking down the street screaming into her cell phone, having a fight with someone. We won’t go to any of the nearby fast food restaurants because there is a better than 20% chance there will be parents screaming at their kids, saying horrible things, or angry customers talking to the employees in really threatening ways. And in August, two shooting deaths (on the streets, in daylight) happened within a mile of our place. So…it’s an adjustment, for sure. This poem exaggerates the scariness because…poetic license!

Check out the rest of the pastoral poems–most of them actually pastoral:>)

Kelly
Liz

Sara
Rebecca 

Tanita 
Tricia
Andi

 

Click here to see all our previous Poetry Princesses collaborations. 

Cheriee at Library Matters has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week. Check it out, and learn about a new (to me, anyway) poet!

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21 Responses

  1. I adore this poem! I love that it made me laugh and miss my little house in the city. I think you’ve nicely risen to the challenge, even if you’ve gone at it slant.

  2. I live in the city, too, with lots of trees as your picture shows, but there are those moments of anger I see as people walk by. And I’m wishing they’d left their phones at home so they could enjoy what’s there surrounding them. Your poem reflects more than nature’s bounty, but human nature, which those pastoral poets ignored, right? I’m interested to see the others, too!

  3. I like the opening invitation and the shifting back and forth between the good and the less good.

  4. Ha! Your pastoral made me laugh out loud. I grew up in a small town and ended up moving to a city after university. We now own a house in that same town. There is much I adore about both places, but I definitely adore the diversity in the city where schools are mini united nations. On the other hand, I also adore the quiet of the small town and the ability to see stars at night.

  5. I am enjoying this poem very much and keep reading it. Your porch sounds lovely! Friendly invitation, lovely flowers, and never boring!

  6. (I’m checking back to see if my first comment got eaten for sure. If it did, I just came back to say I love this!)

  7. Wit, thy name is LAURA. I don’t know that I’ve seen this sly, biting side of you, but I love it. You have nailed the pastoral satire, and it is both uneasy…and hilarious. (I’m a city dweller, too, most of the time.)

  8. I love how you’ve made the form your own by writing about your surroundings. I grew up in a small town, but have lived in the country most of my adult life. I love visiting the city and love retreating back to where cows are the nearest neighbors and the cicadas sing me to sleep at night.

    1. I love your choice of “retreating,” because it does capture the feel of the city as a kind of war zone. A shoplifter stabbed a security guard last weekend at the little upscale grocery store downtown we stop by once or twice a week. Sigh.

  9. Your poem made me chuckle and smile–so much there I can relate to, as I too live in the city, while we have many trees we have all of the above you’ve so skillfully included–I like your take on pastoral, it’s breathing and alive!

  10. Hahaha, I love this interpretation of the pastoral. I think “modern” engagements with classic forms often start as parody, but still find some truth?

  11. Laura, for a person who struggled with the pastoral poem, I see you pulled it altogether. You poem is quite funny and certainly gives us a hint of the beauty of the pastoral (lines 1,3,5) but is full of city vibes. Great job!

  12. I love this poem. We’ve lived in the burbs and in the country, but we absolutely love our visits to the city for all of the reasons you listed. However, it’s those shots fired that kept us from ever considering a move to the city while we were raising our kids.

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