Monday, November 9, 2009


Scarecrows

There is an old man who tends a large garden not very far from my house. I pass by often and see him there, just sitting alone in the midst of his vegetables, quiet, still. I always presume he is contemplating the world and its mysteries, but maybe he’s just escaping a chattering wife.
He has placed a homemade scarecrow in the center of the bounty, a scarecrow well crafted, who dons a new outfit each Spring. By the apparent dearth of crows over the garden, the fellow does his job quite well.
I have always loved the idea of scarecrows. How marvelous if we ourselves could but station a figure outside our front door, a chap perfectly crafted to fit our uniqueness, whose only mission in life was to ward away that which would bring us trouble. We could tailor his garments to suit our own needs, each snippet of clothing holding significance for us alone. A magic red scarf to banish depression, an enchanted blue waistcoat to turn away grief. Illness would spot the striped bowtie and flee, anger would see the tweed trousers and fly.
What a smooth life we could fashion for ourselves.

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The Scarecrow

All winter through I bow my head
beneath the driving rain;
the North Wind powders me with snow
and blows me black again;
at midnight 'neath a maze of stars
I flame with glittering rime,
and stand above the stubble, stiff
as mail at morning-prime.
But when that child called Spring, and all
his host of children come,
scattering their buds and dew upon
these acres of my home,
some rapture in my rags awakes;
I lift void eyes and scan
the sky for crows, those ravening foes,
of my strange master, Man.
I watch him striding lank behind
his clashing team, and know
soon will the wheat swish body high
where once lay a sterile snow;
soon I shall gaze across a sea
of sun-begotten grain,
which my unflinching watch hath sealed
for harvest once again.

by Walter de la Mare

37 comments:

  1. Oh Pamela~ You would love the children's book Rosebud and Red Flannel by Maine author Ethel Pochocki. It is a charming story-for childern and adults. As a matter of fact-I'm going to go read it again right now! I love the story of your neighbor's scarecrow.

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  2. One of the villages here in the Highlands has a Scarecrow Festival - everyone makes their own scarecrow and then displays it in their front garden for the week of the Festival. It's lovely driving through the village and being greeted by all these gorgeous creations. Hope you and Edward are having a lovely weekend. Leigh

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  3. Oh Pam...if only we could do that and it worked !!!!
    I love scarecrows...there is certainly something a little scary about them....I do think that they might start moving, sometimes !!
    Does Edward bark at them or is he much more well-behaved ?
    Have a great weekend. XXXX

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  4. I had to learn that poem off by heart at school! Seeing scarecrows in a field always gives me a lift. It would be fun to dress one in one's own clothing.

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  5. One of my favourite poems, Pamela. I think Walter de la Mare is very under-rated these days - his poems have such resonance, particularly for children. And your picture above it is lovely too.

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  6. LOL, I love how you called you rneighbor an 'old' man.

    Years ago, a neighborhood boy about 7, regularly showed up when I worked in my garden.

    One afternoon he pinched my muscular arm thoughtfully and looked at me with big eyes, and said, "YOU OLD."

    Ha, I was expecting him to say, You Strong.

    Thanks for reminding me of a boy who is now a man. Me? I'M STILL MUSCULAR & YOUNG !!

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

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  7. Hi Pamela, I have just found your blog. I really enjoyed the tale of your neighbour and his scarecrow.I must admit I have a bit of a half scared, half adore, relationship with these chaps. cheers Katherine.

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  8. Hi Pamela
    I just love this post [and your last too]. I so need a scarecrow right now. One to take to work with me and protect me at my desk from any new task coming my way.. hehehe

    Funny I don't think of scarecrows as something you see in Australia and then I read Leigh's comments. Another downfall of living in the city.

    Have a great weekend. x Julie

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  9. Pamela, what on earth is stopping you from crafting a figure such as you describe. I'm sure the neighbourhood would love it too.

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  10. i really like this concept.
    good stuff as usual pamela.
    xx

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  11. I kind of had a scarecrow by my door this halloween. Perhaps it was a skeleton...but it did don a "keep the evil doers away" turquoise bikini.

    And, By gum, it worked!

    YOU need to write a kids book....ever consider it??

    Love every darn amazing word that you write. I am sooo hooked!

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  12. Hi Pamela,

    I loved reading about the Scarecrow and your neighbour ~ what a lovely post.
    The poem and picture are beautiful too.

    Happy weekend
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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  13. great poem!
    I do love scarecrows, great illustration
    do you know who the name of the painter?
    have a nice sunday!

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  14. When the principal of our school retired to a farm,each class of students with special needs made something to contribute to, and helped construct, a wonderful scarecrow.I think scarecrows are just wonderful, as is what you write.I was unfamiliar with Walter de la Mare's poem, though we learnt many of his poems here in South Australia in primary school. Thank you for posting it.

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  15. ...that first line above sounds like a racehorse!

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  16. What a lovely idea -clothing of significance. I've been through villages in Herefordshire where each house has made a scarecrow. The ideas and imagination that went in to some of them was amazing.

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  17. Pam I love all you share
    Love and hugs and smiles
    across the miles
    Love Jeanne♥

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  18. Lovely post Pamela, I love the idea of a personal scarecrow to fend off all of the bad things. I haven't come across Waletr de la Mare's poem before, it's rather sad really, poor lonely, cold brave scarecrow!

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  19. Humans may think that a scarecrows life is very lonely, however I do believe that they are as happy as can be. To have such an important daily task of scaring away the blues, the buzzards, the brazan crows and birds...to smile at the moon each night and whisper to the veggies, their life is good, their life is important. Plus, they stay fat and humble with so many veggies for a midnight snack.

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  20. I so love you blog but have very hard time reading centred text! any way you could left align it for those os us like me?

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  21. Lovely story about the scarecrow:)Yas it would be great to have wee personalized ones for our houses to keep our sorrows away.
    Opened it........love all of it!!!!!
    Thanks so much! xoxox
    pop by and see:)

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  22. You have such a whimsical cast of mind, Pamela. I love it.

    Never mind the crows, let's definitely have a scarecrow to scare off illness, anger and death!

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  23. I love your idea re. having our own scarecrows.

    They are something I keep meaning to make but have never got round to doing so.

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  24. Pamela,

    After seeing the Wizard of Oz..I've always been rather fond of scarecrows.

    I however love the idea of someone or thing standing
    guard for protection. Let's see what your scarecrow
    might look like?

    Elizabeth

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  25. My grandfather used to sit quietly in the middle of his garden... waiting for gophers to pop up. I won't tell you what he did to them! Great story, Pamela. I'd love to have my own scarecrow. And the art is so charming and somehow looks familiar. Is it from a children's book?

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  26. Hi Pamela,
    I enjoyed reading your post about the old man and the Scarecrow. I wonder if they really work and scare the crows. They do look a bit creepy standing in the fields and gardens!
    The Scarecrow poem by Walter de la Mare is excellent too. Wonderful writing.
    Have a good week!;)
    Jo.x

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  27. Scarecrows always make me think of the wizard of oz. Loved your story! suzie. xxx

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  28. Pamela,
    Again a wonderful post! So wonderful written!
    If you read your text you really will start loving the scarecrows!

    Greet

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  29. My scarecrow would be ever so inviting. I would welcome a family of crows.
    pve

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  30. He is steadfast, the scarecrow.

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  31. Your post rings so true. I love the scarecrow and I love your thoughtful ideas/meanings attributed to him.

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  32. Oh you are so right! A scarecrow would come in handy when troubles come chasing. Love your words Pamela. And regarding that comment you left on my blog, you and I are indeed lucky for having wonderful and loving daddies. Have a blessed and marvelous week.

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  33. They are so old fashioned scarecrows but I do love the reasons behind them and that they were unique and so personal to each farmer. I miss them...xv

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  34. what a wonderful idea, can you imagine walking down the street being greeted by a wonderful vision of brightly clad scarecrows all busy warding away the bad & ugly things & waving on by the good x x ruthie

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  35. I love the idea of a personal scarecrow, brilliant!

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I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at pamela@pamelaterry.net. Thank you for reading!