Yes, the Scottish poet Norman MacCaig wrote that fine frog poem, as Rachel Fox knew and Weaver Of Grass correctly divined. In fact he wrote other poems on frogs too, and one on toads, and many others on earwigs, lizards, caterpillars, worms, dogs, cows, bulls, horses, goats, deer, hens, ducks, pigeons, crows, blackbirds, starlings, sparrows, wrens, gulls, puffins, cormorants, kingfishers, stonechats, greenshanks, wagtails, plovers, swans, bullfinches, blue tits, thrushes, sharks, whales, and porpoises. MacCaig loved all living creatures with their unique oddities, their individual charms; and he celebrated them in poems of wit, wisdom and panache. I'd like to explore a few more of MacCaig's poems. Why don't you come with me on the journey?
What better place to to start than with his poem Summer Farm - taken from his 1955 volume of verse, Riding Lights, and cited by Rachel Fox in her comment on my previous post. It's deservedly a much-anthologized piece, and demonstrates clearly his lucid style and gift for close observation. Yet beneath this surface transparency lie hidden depths. Metaphysics lurks in the summer farmyard heat. We pass from the ducks, to the hen, to the swallow, to the grasshopper (in language that slightly unsettles) to the human and artistic self - which reveals itself like a nest of Russian dolls. This poem is written most evidently by 'a man who never looks without thinking'...
Straws like tame lightnings lie about the grass
And hang zigzag on hedges. Green as glass
The water in the horse-trough shines.
Nine ducks go wobbling by in two straight lines.
A hen stares at nothing with one eye,
Then picks it up. Out of an empty sky
A swallow falls and, flickering through
The barn, dives up again into the dizzy blue.
I lie, not thinking, in the cool, soft grass,
Afraid of where a thought might take me - as
This grasshopper with plated face
Unfolds his legs and finds himself in space.
Self under self, a pile of selves I stand
Threaded on time, and with metaphysic hand
Lift the farm like a lid and see
Farm within farm, and in the centre, me.
It would be really cool if we could develop what we think about this poem and its meaning in the comments' box?