Summer Farm as made famous by Norman MacCaig
Interpretation by Ben Ingram and Thomas White
Summer Farm (Stanzas 1 & 2)
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.
Summer Farm (Stanzas 3 & 4)
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.
• MacCaig was born in Edinburgh in 1910 and divided his time, for the rest of his life, between his native city and Assynt in the Scottish Highlands from where his mother’s family came from. • He was schooled at the Royal High School and studied classics at the University of Edinburgh. • During World War II MacCaig registered as a conscientious objector, a move that many at the time criticised.
• For the early part of his working life, he was employed as a school teacher in primary schools. • His first collection, Far Cry, was published in 1943. He continued to publish throughout his lifetime and was extremely prolific in the amount that he produced. • In 1967 he was appointed Fellow in Creative Writing at Edinburgh. He became a reader in poetry in 1970, at the University of Stirling.
• Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy investigating principles of reality transcending those of any particular science. It is concerned with explaining the ultimate nature of being and the world. • It relates to questions that cannot be answered in factual terms. i.e. science may tell us how the universe works, but why...