Tag Archives: virgil

Poem 28: Mary Ann – Harry

– an eclogue

Having settled on creating an Eclogue, as my chosen poetic form for this month, I perused Virgil’s famous “Eclogues” (translated of course) to get some inspiration. I had great difficulty in comprehending them, even after reading the footnotes numerous times. This Eclogue is a response to, and an admission of, my own inadequacy.

Mary Ann (a town girl):
Harry, you must go and milk all the cows that are lowing o’er there.

Harry (a shepherd):
No, my dear Mary Ann, I really cannot be bothered today.
It is idyllic so, lying here with you this late afternoon,
cool in the shade of a sycamore tree in the field.

Mary Ann:
Oh, but the cows have udders near bursting with cream.
Calves have been taken away from them so that they need to be milked;
I mean the cows not the calves. I hear them bleat.

Harry:
Moo.

Mary Ann:
Moo?

Harry:
It’s like the cow and the bull, and the ram and the ewe, and the white
duck and the drake, and the hind and the stag, and the pigs;
let us make love in this bucolic place with the sky all above.

Mary Ann:
Oh, but I have soon to catch the last train back to town where I live,
leaving behind all this wonderful pastoral countryside bliss
in exchange for exhaust fumes and tooting of horns at the traffic lights.
This is no time for such hanky-panky and for you to toot
toot your horn as well. Toot toot.

Harry:
Toot toot.

Mary Ann:
Too-da-loo. I go!

Harry:
See how the smoke from the cottage afar curls in the sky.
Evening begins to set; husbands and wives light their fires for warmth,
Cosy in domestic love. See how the shadows stretch long in the meadows.

Mary Ann:
Quick! I must leave for the train that will take me away from the farm.

Harry:
Oh well, I’d better go milk all the cows that need milking then.
Farewell, my lovely dear Mary Ann. May you enjoy the long trip
back to the town where you dwell.
But will you marry me?

Mary Ann:
NO! But my heart will be left behind in this most rustic of settings,
here with the lowing of herds winding slowly in line o’er the lea.

Harry:
You already said that.

Mary Ann:
And there are olive groves and vineyards.

Harry:
Where?

Mary Ann:
There are also peaches

Harry:
and cream.

They kiss. Mary Ann misses her train.

To hear the poem read aloud click HERE.