Monday Poetry

Today we have something a little different. I want to know what you think the poem below is about. Is it about love, shame, beauty, loneliness, none of the above? (Don’t cheat and wiki it.)

For more Monday Poetry link back to Rhi

The Planter’s Daughter by Austin Clarke

When night stirred at sea
And the fire brought a crowd in,
They say that her beauty
Was music in mouth
And few in the candlelight
Thought her too proud,
For the house of the planter
Is known by the trees.

Men that had seen her
Drank deep and were silent,
The women were speaking
Wherever she went –
As a bell that is rung
Or a wonder told shyly,
And O she was the Sunday
In every week.



  1. I wouldn’t have thought to wiki it, but I did. And didn’t find anything (oh well). Beautiful images. I’d be interested to read what it is about (I have lots of ideas).

  2. Thanks for posting everyone! It is a beautiful poem, and the first time I read it I just thought it was romantic (there were other reasons I thought this, I went into it hoping it was romantic, which colored my perception) but now I agree with gt that it’s sad.

  3. Ok, it seems like I’m in trouble for not explaining things. Everyone, please be warned that getting on Lila’s bad side is *not* a good idea!

    Without going in too much detail, the Planter (meaning someone who was planted by the government in a new area, e.g. from Scotland to Ireland) is the local landlord. He’d be much wealthier than his tenants, have a grander house (what’s known as “The Big House”) would have bought his estate for a pretty nominal fee from the government and would probably be a different religion to his tenants. So his daughter would be unobtainable though the poem implies she was down-to-earth and approachable. Also, Clarke is known for his lyricism, “music in mouth”, to give my favourite example. Some of the images he uses are typical of his time and place. For example, “the Sunday/ In every week” (another wonderful and lyrical phrase) refers to a time when Sunday *was* a special day, a day of rest that was looked forward to and on which people wore their “Sunday clothes”. It’s Clarke’s way of saying just how special she is.

    Ok, so what grade do I get? Be nice!

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