November 04, 2003

Hay literature.

I have found and read over three thousand English language poems which contained the word “hay” at least once. Of these, I am selecting perhaps a hundred or so, ranging in age between the reigns of the two Elizabeths, and from both sides of the Atlantic, to illustrate the range of lyrical and metaphoric purposes for which poets, great and obscure, have used our humble commodity. Although in fiction and drama the hay references are more scattered and diffuse, they may also yield a few distinctive passages to our anthology.

The following poems and selections are in approximate chronological order.




Poets Born Before the Nineteenth Century.

The first group consists of eleven poems by nine poets born before the nineteenth century.

John Lydgate (c1370-c1451).
“That now is hay some-tyme was grase” c 1400.

Thomas Tusser (1524?-1580).
“Iulies Abstract”
from Five Hundred Pointes of Good Husbandrie 1580.

Andrew Marvell (1621-1678 ).
Verses from “Upon Appleton House to my Lord Fairfax”

James Thomson (1700-1748).
"Summer" from The Seasons

Robert Dodsley (1703-1764).
“Agriculture. A Poem”

James Grahame (1765-1811).
“June” from British Georgics

Samuel Woodworth (1784-1842).
“The Hay-makers”

John Clare (1793-1864).
“Haymaking”

John Clare (1793-1864).
“Haymaking” [sonnet]

Thomas Hood (1799-1845).
“That Flesh is Grass is Now as Clear as Day”

Thomas Hood (1799-1845).
"Miss Killmansegg and Her Precious Leg. A Legend"




Poets Born in the Early Nineteenth Century.

The second group consists of fifteen poems by eleven poets born in the first half of the nineenth century.

William Barnes (1801-1886).
“Round Things”

William Barnes (1801-1886).
“Hay-Meaken”

William Barnes (1801-1886).
“Hay-Carren”

William Barnes (1801-1886).
“Hay-Meaken. Nunchen Time”

William Barnes (1801-1886).
“Between Haymaking and Harvest”

Robert Nicoll (1814-1837).
“The Making o’ the Hay”

Thomas English (1819-1902).
“Haymaking”

Dora Greenwell(1821-1882).
“Haymaking”

William Allingham(1824-1889).
“To the Author of 'Hesperides'”

Emily Dickinson(1830-1886).
“The Grass”

William Morris(1834-1896).
“The Half of Life Gone”

Will Carleton(1845-1912).
“The Boy in the Mow”

John Keegan Casey(1846-1870).
“The Making of the Hay”

George Barlow(1847-1914).
“The Hay-fields on the Cliff-top”

Michael Field(1848-1914).
“The Hayfield”




Poets Born in the Late Nineteenth Century.

The third group consists of 26 poems by fifteen poets born in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Robert Richardson.
“A Haycart in the City”

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894).
“The Hayloft”

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900).
“Symphony in Yellow”

John Frederic Herbin (1860-1923).
“Haying”

John Frederic Herbin (1860-1923).
“The Dyke”

John Frederic Herbin (1860-1923).
“The Night-mower”

John Frederic Herbin (1860-1923).
“The Sea Harvest”

John Frederic Herbin (1860-1923).
“Scowing”

John Frederic Herbin (1860-1923).
“In the Rain”

John Frederic Herbin (1860-1923).
“Aftermath” [sonnet]

John Frederic Herbin (1860-1923).
“Aftermath” ["August is hot in the flood of an ardent sun"]

Carman Bliss (1861-1929).
“The Blue Heron”

Katharine Tynan (1861-1931).
“Haymaking”

Eva Gore-Booth (1870-1926).
“We Shall Be Changed”

Robert Frost (1874-1963).
“The Code”

Robert Frost (1874-1963).
“Mowing”

Robert Frost (1874-1963).
“The Exposed Nest”

Robert Frost (1874-1963).
“The Death of the Hired Man”

Edward Thomas (1878-1917).
“Haymaking”

William Carlos Williams (1883-1963).
“Haymaking”

D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930).
“Dog-tired”

D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930).
“Leaves of Grass, Flowers of Grass”

Andrew Young (1885-1971).
“The Haystack”

Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982).
“New England Weather”

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950).
“The Gardener in Haying Time”

Robert Graves (1895-1985).
“It's a Queer Time”




Poets Born Since the Nineteenth Century.

The final group consists of 33 poems by 25 poets born since 1900.

Patrick Kavanagh (1904-1967).
“Shancoduff”

Kenneth Rexroth (1905-1982).
“Sottoportico San Zaccaria”

Kenneth Rexroth (1905-1982).
“Rogation Days”

E. J. Scovell (1907- ).
“The Half-Mown Meadow”

William Stafford (1907- ).
“Hay-Cutters”

Louis MacNeice (1907-1963).
"Eclogue by a Five-barred Gate"

Louis MacNeice (1907-1963).
"Last before America"

William Everson (1912-1994).
"And Do the Indulgent Lovers"

Jean Garrigue (1912-1972).
"This Swallow's Empire"

Jean Garrigue (1912-1972).
“Invitation to a Hay”

Muriel Rukeyser (1913-).
“Haying Before Storm”

Maxine Kumin (1925-).
“Hay”

Hayden Carruth (1926-).
“The Baler”

Hayden Carruth (1926-).
“Emergency Haying”

James Arlington Wright (1927-).
“Lament for my Brother on a Hayrake”

Galway Kinnell (1927-).
“Farm Picture”

Thom Gunn (1929-2004).
“At the Back of the North Wind”

Gary Snyder (1930-).
“Hay for the Horses”

Ted Hughes (1930-1998).
“Feeding Out – Wintering Cattle at Twilight”

Ted Hughes (1930-1998).
“Surprise”

Ted Hughes (1930-1998).
“Last Load”

Seamus Heaney (1939-).
“Storm on the Island”

Seamus Heaney (1939-).
“Fodder”

Bin Ramke (1947-).
“The Movement of Birds like Years”

Paul Muldoon (1951-).
“Hay”

Paul Muldoon (1951-).
“The Plot”

John Kinsella (1963-).
“Wrapping the Hay”

Chip Stringer.
“Where the hay is now comes to me.”

Cristiane Jacox Kyle.
“Dialog in Jordan, Montana”

Tom Hansen.
“Haystack at Sunset near Giverny”

Edwina Powell.
“Hay”

Chris Agee.
“Dark Hay”

Robert Pack.
“Baled Hay”





Posted by Alan Ritch at November 4, 2003 02:50 PM