Solitary Reaper

I can’t hop high and low angry or lonely like this I knew. The fast shaking scribblings of my pen shall not ebb the pressures. I always had one pleasant association with the word solitary which also occurs in this blog’s title, the solitary reaper by Wordsworth. I read it as a child in school. I read it again today hoping it would destress the hectic chaotic mess called life. It helped, brought a smile to my face.

I haven’t read any paraphrase or didn’t tarry long on the text either. I read it faster than I would a poem in a blog. Yet the contemplations are still on in my mind and shall continue as I walk the streets. Each time a different meaning got as to the hue of my mood.

A woman is reaping the harvest alone in a field and a poet muses on that. Stop if you wish, stop forever to the immortal melody or pass without disturbing the melody. The nature’s poet says its greater than cuckoo’s song and other nature’s music. Does it mean she is singing a masterpiece. No the scene is thus, this woman singing for herself, alone, to accompany her work and ease her spirit, without an audience is greater than the grandest of orchestras.

The subject is a peasant girl. Yet the higher class the poet belonged to can never hope to hold the beauty of the reaper’s song in their converse or in form of any other craft.

The girl doesn’t seem to need company or society. She is immersed in her activity, singing and reaping. The society though needs her if not for her song, then at least for the harvest.

The poet muses what could the song be about that the girl sings without much ado. Is it of past grandeur, long gone battles or such thing. The poet doesn’t think such subjects are too much for the simple girl. These tales and songs she could have picked anywhere from her dinner table talks to chats with other girls. Or is it about a very simple mundane thing that happened recently.

Here it is to be noted that the poet is as content just watching her as she is singing alone. Human exchanges can also be thus. Both the reaper and the poet are examples of beings who can be content by themselves alone with their souls. The poet carries that song in his heart as he walks further, even after it stopped. The song at heart gives the poet company and solace as he walks alone.

Alone can be quaint and happiest of things is an association I get only from William Wordsworth’s ‘Solitary Reaper’.

The Solitary Reaper

Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.
No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne’er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.
Will no one tell me what she sings?—
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?
Whate’er the theme, the Maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o’er the sickle bending;—
I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.
There are other posts in this blog that talk of other famous poems. Given below their links.
Enjoy Reading.

3 thoughts on “Solitary Reaper

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