Farm Life

Of Poetry and Pauses

There is little that remains to be said that hasn’t been said already with respect to the seasons –particularly insofar as summer is concerned, which this year is looking to be hot, moist and stifling, and filled with torrential storms to boot. The lore is that there are only two seasons in Quebec, summer and its opposite, winter – the other two being so short-lived as to serve little to no purpose, really, other than as brief interludes between two main acts. Poets have made the seasons their bread and butter – and so it is that I like to quote (the French poet) Verlaine, who said of summer …Fi de l’été morose, toujours la même chose, J’ai chaud, t’as chaud, dormons!…A great poet whose awareness of the farmer’s summer frenzy was clearly lacking…

It is not only of poetry that I wish to write, but also of one of the great masterpieces of classical music composed by that musical genius, Haydn, simply and eponymously christened The Seasons. Should you have two and a half hours to spare, please do so without further ado and pay particular attention to farmer’s recitative, nicely complemented by the chorus. Provided you aren’t too tired of YouTube, there is a very nice version under the baton of Nicolas Harnoncourt which is (almost) ad-free…some other time, I will write more about another work of art focused on the seasons, an eponymous ballet, this time, by Glazunov. Music from a different epoch but demonstrating a similar interest in the inevitability of one season giving way to the next (and the next, and the next).

In closing, thank you for the forbearance of our Wednesday-Thursday basket members last week and your having accepted the interruption in deliveries which allowed our vegetables to grow just a bit bigger and us to gather our wits. In fact, Claire and I are seriously considering the possibility of instituting a summer breather next year – as we transition from an abundance of spring greenery to the cornucopia of summer. More anon, eventually.

Meanwhile, we look forward to seeing you all again at your respective drop-off locations.