Helen Hunt Jackson’s poem about Poppies on the wheat and splashes of spring that inevitably brings springtime in Italy and along Ancona hills to mind.
American author Helen Hunt Jackson (1831-1885) is best known for the novel Ramona, but she also published a book of Verses based on her experiences during a tour through Germany and Italy in 1869. Her poem of poppies invariably brings springtime in Italy to my mind.
Poppies on the wheat
Along Ancona’s hills the shimmering heat,
A tropic tide of air with ebb and flow
Bathes all the fields of wheat until they glow
Like flashing seas of green, with toss and beat
Around the vines. The poppies lithe and fleet
Seem running, fiery torchmen, to and fro
To mark the shore.
The farmer does not know
That they are there. He walks with heavy feet,
Counting the bread and wine for autumn’s gain,
But I, – I smile to think that days remain
Perhaps to me in which, though bread be sweet
No more, and red wine warm my blood in vain,
I shall be glad remembering how the fleet,
Lithe poppies ran like torchmen with the wheat.
Helen Hunt Jackson
Splashes of spring along Ancona hills and other writers on Italy