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Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Where We Belong To Be...

The Old Ones

In the May evening
Flowing with golden light,
Out went the old woman
To meditate;

Pottered through the orchard,
Her cat at her side -
So old the two of them,
Time they died.


But when they sat them down on the bench
Under an apple-tree,
'Here we are,' said the old woman,
'Where we belong to be.'

Blossom floated from the branches,
Light as snowflakes touched those two friends,
Coarsened fur and faded hair
And bent transparent hands.


So they sat, the two of them,
In some content ....
The violent bats swerved to and fro,
The brightness went.

Leaving the sky as any shell
Delicate and pure;
Soundless flitted passed the moths
Through the dim blossomy air.

Yet still, still, those old ones -
As if the sun still shone -
Sat there, never noticing
Another day had gone.



'Here we are,' said the old woman,
'Under the apple tree
'On this sweet May evening,
'Where we belong to be.'

The words, 'Where we belong to be' in this poem are used in the Cornish way. Frances Bellerby says this includes, 'Where we are accustomed to be, where we are at home, where we ought to be: having a perfect right to be there' - a perfectly accurate description. The old woman lived with her cat in the same Cornish village as Frances Bellerby at that time. As an example of the way in which poems come to be written, it is interesting that the poet says of this one, 'In no way was the poem made because of them. It might be nearer the truth to say that they were found in the poem when it came to be written.'
The old cat died about a year later, aged 17, and was buried under the apple tree.

Copied from Dawn and Dusk, a collection of poems for the young edited by Charles Causley.

7 comments:

Sue Hyams said...

Lovely! x

Carole Anne Carr said...

My friend in Atlanta says she would love to be under that apple tree when she is old. And she loves cats, Sue. x

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Oh my, that was so wonderful. Made me teary. My neighbour Ida Cutler, a poet, lived next door for many many years. She was extraordinary woman, born in England, taught school in the wilderness of BC, wrote the most haunting, endearing poems about her life. I read this and saw Ida. She passed away at 91. Too soon.

Carole Anne Carr said...

Joylene, so happy that this wonderful poem brought back memories of your friend. I too had a wonderful creative friend Ida, but sadly she drifted away with memory loss.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Carole .. brilliant poem .. and am glad you put the Cornish connection up - The Old Ones .. I loved the verse 'blossom floated from the branches .... '

So descriptive .. just wish the apple blossom was out now .. but the apples look good.

My mother buried our cats under the ancient gnarled Magnolia tree ... near the fruit and veg patch ...

Wonderful poem - definitely 'Where I belong to be' ...!! cheers Hilary

Carole Anne Carr said...

Thanks, Hillary, it appeals of my American friend - had an English mother, adores cats, says that is where she'd like to be.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

OH I love this poem. I am going to save it in my collection. Thank you -- barbara

 
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