Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Country Alphabet by Godfrey & Ethel Blount

I think that this poem jointly written by Godfrey and Ethel Blount encapsulates their values beautifully.  It was published in the April 1911 journal, The Vineyard, in the section titled "for the children".

A is for Almighty God,
   Who has given every treasure;
Agriculture for our Acres,
Art to give us shining Angels,
   Apples for a homely pleasure.

B for Blessing on all Birth,
   Babies, Buds and Beasts,
Endless beauty for the earth,
   Birds and Barley-feasts.

C for Customs, Country ways,
   Cross of Christ in battle,
C for blessed golden Corn,
   C for gentle Cattle.

D for Distaff with its spindle,
   Homespun Dress for happy toil,
D for Days of Admal's labour,
   Digging deep in fruitful soil.

E for Eating gratefully
   Blessing platter, blessing cup,
Easter and the Eucharist,
   Heart to Heaven lifted up.

F for Furrowed, russet Fields
   Holding wealth in store;
For Flowers and Fruit, for Fire and Force
   And flail on threshing-Floor

for Groves and Gardens Green,
   Grain and Grapes on hills,
Glory of purple juice in vat,
   And Grist for a thousand mills.

H shall stand for Heart and Hand,
   For Harvests won from earth;
For Harrow, Hoe and binding Hedge,
   For Hammer, Home and Hearth.

Both I and J shall mean to those
   Who live by country ways,
The Justice, Joy and Innocence
   That fill their simple days.

K is for the Kingly heart
   That lives to serve and bless,
To feel, to rule, to help and heal
   In Knightly Kindliness.

L shall stand for happy Labour,
   Loom and fruitful Land;
Love that makes the world go round;
   Life from God's own hand.

M for Men and Master too
   In the Meadows Mowing;
M for Miller in his Mill
   With the Mill-wheel going.

N for Nature with her Night,
   Need of pain and wrestling,
Bringing New-birth with the light,
   New love for the Nestling.

O for Ordered Orchard ways;
   Wind-blown Oat-stalks bowing;
Oaks and Oil and Olive-groves;
   Patient Oxen ploughing.

P for Peasant, Plough, and Prince,
   Patriot, Pagan, Praise,
Pastures green  and Purity,
   Prayer and Peaceful days.

Q for Quaint and homely Quince;
   Q for hero's Quest;
Q for Quenchless, Quickening life
   In cottage, byre, and nest.

R for Reapers in the harvest,
   Rain and Rainbow, Roses, Rooks.
R for noon-day Rest from labour,
   Garnered Riches, golden stooks.

S for Spade and Scythe and Sickle,
   Share and Sword and Saint afar;
Sorrow, Secret, Seed and Spirit,
   Song and Sun and shining Star.

T for Thatch and Tree and Tool,
   Town and old Tradition's lore;
And the Tune the rhythmic flails
   Thump upon the Threshing-floor.

And U shall stand for Unity
   And sympathy of hearts,
And patient Use that trains the hand
   To Useful country arts.

And V is for true Victory,
   And Virtue tried by fire;
For happy Vine-clad Village homes
   Around the Village spire.

Wine and Water, Wheat and Wealth,
   Wage, and Wassail-making;
Winnowing, Wind and Wintry World
   Ere the spring be Waking.

X the Xtians Xmas love
   With creche and Xmas-tree;
X the Cross on which our Christ
   Wins immortality.

Y for leaves of autumn yellow;
   Years that Yield the Yearned-for truth,
Whilst the ancient earth renews us
   With her everlasting Youth.

Z our Zeal and sacred passion,
   Breaking bread in happy wise,
Learning in such simple fashion
   To regain our Paradise.

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