The Angelus, by Jean-Francois Millet, Ekphrastic prompt.

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It rings every day, the Angelus bell,

and every day they stop and pray,

and every day they start again,

another furrow filled with seed,

another day broken on labour’s back.

Furrows, horse-trod, fill with rain

or seed or pigeons, later barley,

cabbage, rye, to be scythed, dug,

weeded and pigeons to scare.

The bell rings and rings again

And all that changes is the light

and the hands that join in prayer,

more wrinkled and worn each season,

until pigeons peck the scanty seed

and fly, as the final furrow is dug.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

30 thoughts on “Peasants”

    1. It was like that here until not that long ago. The old people who lived here started off as what you call share-croppers. Peasants didn’t own their land, just worked it for someone else.

  1. The last line is sad and wistful and real. The daily bell is such a good metaphor (I’d say striking, but you know) for the rhythm and inexorability of the life. Even the life of faith is rutinous. And then it’s done. I suppose in another stanza, other sets of hands would be planting and praying.

    Verse provoking thought, to say the least.

      1. It’s Truly Ironic i LiVE iN
        Perhaps the Most Beautiful
        Natural Environment In
        The World the Emerald
        Gulf Coast of Florida where
        In my Community
        Sadly and
        So Ignorant
        Of Truth Not
        Only Do 85 Percent
        Still Cheer Trump..
        for As Long as i
        Have Lived here
        this Same Kind of
        Human Fed
        Most For an
        Apocalypse to
        End Paradise Real
        For one Five Foot
        Or So Brown
        100 Pound or
        So Very Syrian
        Looking Dude
        To make a Return
        Visit… ‘Little’
        Did/Do they know
        He tried to
        Come this Go
        Around Down
        South a Bit
        To cross the Mexican
        Border same Color
        Same Size
        Love killed
        On sight still
        By Those who
        Refuse to
        That is their
        Just Due their
        Wish their Hope
        Their Prayer Now
        Their ‘Apocalypse’
        In deed as the
        Definition of
        The Term ironically
        Means Lifting
        oF iGnorance’
        Naked and Free
        As God Is Nature Now..:)

      2. In Guns we trust
        Gorgon bless America
        militias and brown shirts
        white dunces hats
        and black shirts
        all grist to the great mill
        of industry
        and greatness—
        none so blind
        as those who will not see
        a single petal
        of a single simple daisy
        is more beautiful
        than their lifetime’s achievement.

      3. Smiles Other Animals Don’t
        Lie That separates
        Them in a Place of
        Honor Above all
        Humans who
        Either lie
        Or Willfully
        Do Not Discern
        Truth some Folks
        Just Don’t know
        Are Doing
        And True
        That’s Life too…
        But With Enough
        Human Lies of Harm
        to Nature.. Nature Will
        Bite Back in Terms of Double Bomb Cyclones
        that Dwarf A Developing
        Dennis Menace
        From Your
        Of U.K..
        By the way
        Take Care Be Safe..:)

      4. Here we are safe from storms
        cradled in the balmy
        (barmy) south
        but nowhere is safe
        from the lunatics
        with an ear to the telephone
        and their fat little fingers
        on the button.

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