Friday, October 04, 2019

Poetry Sisters Write Pastoral Poems

Rebecca set this month's challenge to write a poem in the pastoral mode. We could choose the form and topic, so this one was wide open. Rebecca shared an excerpt from one of my "go to" books on form, The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms. I also found Poetry 101: What Is a Pastoral Poem? to be particularly helpful. Here is an excerpt:
What is the Purpose of a Pastoral Poem? 
An overriding, defining theme of pastoral poems is the idea of an idealized vision of country life, in which humans live simply and in harmony with nature. Other common themes and motifs that characterize the pastoral mode include:
  • A beautiful, natural setting
  • Shepherds as central characters (who are often used as vehicles for political or religious allegory)
  • Religious allegory in pastoral poetry is aided by the common association between Christianity and shepherds/flocks of sheep
  • The trope of a return to an idealized Golden Age, when humans lived in complete harmony with nature
  • Focus on imagined life in the country, rather than reality
  • The working belief that country life is superior to urban life
It was hard to live up to some of these motifs, but I gave it a shot. I have been scribbling random lines of poetry all over my field notes this week. I'm not sure I have a finished poem, but the idea here is to be brave and share our drafts. Here's mine.

On Retirement In a Tiny House 

In dreams I Marie Kondo my life
pack what remains into a tiny house
built from reclaimed barn wood
and church windows
(indoor plumbing be damned)

I put down roots in my very own Walden
find solitude in a wildflower meadow
just beside a copse of trees
or shallow, vernal pool
a bucolic spot to loiter through the seasons
my only neighbors the birds and wild creatures

No television, phone, or radio to distract
from the serenading of the hooting owl,
chirping cricket, chittering squirrel

I've all the time in the world
to tend a garden
read books
write poems
walk and wander and wonder
grateful and thrilled to be alive

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2019. All rights reserved.

You can read the pieces written by my Poetry Sisters at the links below. 
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected at Library Matters. Happy poetry Friday friends!


  1. Without TV, radio, or phone, I spent my childhood summers at one grandparents' home, wandering their farm, playing in the trees and fields. It probably wouldn't suit me now, but I loved those days. Your poem called that memory up, Tricia. I love your added "Marie Kondo" opening. She has become a household word!

  2. That is indeed a lovely scene, free of disappointed English majors like me who scowled on discovering Walden was steps from meals and laundry at Mama's house. Still, that just might be a way to get your indoor plumbing sitch addressed!!

  3. Lovely! I share your dream of peace & quiet--someday! I especially appreciate "to loiter through the seasons" & the serenading sounds.

  4. This is a lovely, lovely dream house! I want to live on the other side of the pond and come visit you to share our Friday Poetry poems! We will have to get the other poets to live down the road or in town or something, cause no internet...

  5. Oh the promise of utopia your poem promises. And yet, as bucolic as this life might seem, I once went into one of those tiny homes. It required a ladder to get to the sleeping area (my knee would kill me) and you couldn't swing a cat inside it. Imagining no indoor plumbing on top of that, I fear I would go stir crazy. Worst of all, there was no place for bookshelves!

    1. I thought about that, but I've seen some very cool ideas. For sure I'd need to pare down my collection.

  6. I love how specific you are about your tiny house---built from reclaimed barn wood and church windows"---and about your dreams. This is lovely.

  7. Oh...this sounds fabulous. I don't think I would actually like it, you know. But it SOUNDS fabulous! I would like to live like this for about a year, though, very minimally. Sigh. Your last stanza is especially wonderful. It put me into a dream state of wanting.

  8. I love how you turned Marie Kondo into a verb and also the specificity of "reclaimed barn wood and church windows." You paint a beautiful picture-- in theory. I think I might require indoor plumbing.

  9. Ah...sounds like a worthy dream to me!!

  10. What a lovely vision. Our home isn't so tiny, but we do live amidst a copse of trees and next to a pond. I love falling asleep to the symphony of cicadas and frogs.

  11. I love how you indulge your fantasy while fully aware of its limitations (indoor plumbing be damned!)

    You've founded a new genre, the tiny house pastoral.

  12. What beautiful imagery your words have created, Tricia. Thank you for sharing.