(subtitled 'A Sylvan Rhapsody') from 1918 takes us back to the world of the Songs of a Wayfarer
, with its ecstatic evocation of the 'innocent' discovery of nature by two travellers—sky, birds, trees, ploughed land … with a culminating impassioned invitation: ' … press your heart against the ground / Let us both listen till we understand / Each through the other every natural sound'. For my money this is one of the finest of all Ireland songs, the atmosphere, especially at the start, bringing to mind some fresh-painted Impressionist picture of a breezy, airy, light-drenched country scene. Anyone with scruples about musical imitations of cuckoos may, on this occasion, be missing the point. Ditto anyone in doubt as to whether passion or ecstasy lurked within the breast of Ireland, the well-groomed bachelor. And what interest, challenge and sheer enjoyment there is for the pianist! The poem is from Harold Monro's volume Strange Meetings
. Monro was born in Belgium in 1879 but came to England at the age of seven.
He was renowned as the founder of The Poetry Bookshop which from 1913 highlighted the work of contemporary poets through publications and the staging of public readings. Monro's own work was championed by T S Eliot.
from notes by Andrew Green © 1999