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innocence – dverse

September 24, 2014

Near the village of Melisey
The Danes roared in to pillage,
The Black Plague raged,
Royal armies seized,
And Nazi soldiers left resistance fighters
To rot upon the fields
And in between
Within the gentle hills
The cattle grazed
Their cowbells chiming peacefully
soft music across the vales
Where innocence walks in yesterday’s meadows


From → dverse, poetry

  1. So striking these two visions you juxtapose here–my father was there–lived there when the Nazis took over–it was a kind of hell i think

  2. Quite the juxtaposition! Very well done!

    • Thanks Resa, I started writing a sonnet, but I couldn’t quite get on it.

      • A sonnet, wow! Those are quite the challenge, very rigid in construction as I remember!
        I am a big fa of Elizabeth Barret Browning’s “Sonnets From The Portuguese”

  3. Love the pastoral scene you paint with the cows, Bill, and the last line is exquisite!

    • thanks – there was a lovely picture of a barefoot girl walking in a meadow to collect the cows….

  4. Your words say it all, Bill, war and plague may desecrate man, but through all the turmoil, the land harbors peace. Beautiful.

    • Thanks VB – that part of France in the corner near the Swiss and German borders is very rich in history and people and beauty.

  5. ..any poem that speaks of gentle hills, cowbells and vales is a keeper for me…and history is remembered by the land it happened on I believe. Nice little poem

  6. One just cannot imagine what had the grounds beneath witnessed through the ages. If they can only speak! Wonderful write billgncs!


    • Thanks Hank – near that village are Roman ruins, a monestary started over 1,000 years ago by the Irish and monuments to French Resistance Fighters.. It seems to have been a conflux of events.

  7. I like the contrast…the harshness of the beginning followed by a glimmer of hope…hope that innocence is not lost…for me, the is something so potent in the last line, I can’t quite put it into words.

  8. Glenn Buttkus permalink

    Like the old farmer said in THE SEVEN SAMURAI, & later in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, “Only the farmers, the peasants won; warriors come & go, but the land is forever.” Nice piece.

  9. You write the contrasts vividly in this poem. Peaceful on the surface, but the ground could tell tales.

    • The last line was to be the first line of a sonnet, but I just couldn’t swing it.

  10. Have you been to this village Bill? I had no idea the Danes went there. Sadly France is a country where many wars were fought.

    • yes, and it’s lovely – and peaceful now, but filled with a history of martyrs and heroes and terrible foes.

      I felt after being there and learning about the history that
      freedom is so precious, and such a rare thing in the history of man.

      I really felt that the spirit of this countryside was perseverance against oppression again and again.

      It’s a very beautiful place too.

  11. Nice reminder that the eternal (the image/symbol of the grazing cow) is eternal, no matter the minor trespasses of ravishing events of man or nature. Nicely written and told. Randy

  12. So striking the contrast between death and war and life and peace. Nice work bw.

  13. I admire the contrast of imagery – war versus peace ~ There is something of the simplicity of life in the fields that makes us or others content ~ Thanks for linking up Bill ~

  14. never thought I’d say this: we need to be more like cows; heck, I’ll start now – moo. smiles (and more moos).

    • Ha! I guess I blew the metaphor that the peasants survive the tides of war – It’s a moo t point now 🙂

      thanks for stopping by

  15. And we don’t seem to learn…

  16. Ah, the irony. Maybe we should be more like the ‘dumb’ animals.

  17. with all the things going on around them, they are not touched… sometimes i wouldn’t mind to have that composure of a cow…smiles

    • it’s the villagers who persevere, and their livestock. Maybe they are the innocents.

      I biked to work today 🙂

  18. even cows
    thrive on battlegrounds

    indeed there are a lot of traces of cruelty underneath the peaceful soil…

  19. while we rage on into the night
    the lowly cow finds peace in a field
    and we find — none?

    • The meadows are very peaceful, but the region has been a battleground to be possessed for the better part of a thousand years. I wonder if there was wisdom in “the son of man has no where to lay his head”

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