Pastoral Idylls…

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Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the
landscape
Lay as if new-created in all the freshness of childhood.
Peace seemed to reign upon earth, …
All sounds were in harmony blended.~ Longfellow

  Those lines give an all-is-well-here picture of an ideal and idyllic landscape. I was reading ‘The Deserted Village’ by Oliver Goldsmith and chanced upon H.W Longfellow’s epic poem ‘Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie’. The story of the Acadian girl Evangeline and her separation from her beloved Gabriel. The poem is of epic length and I did not have the patience to read till the end, but second section of Part-I  is as exciting as looking at a picturesque painting of village scenes. More than  poetry it seems like a painting of pure rustic simplicity. Cambodian rural scenes blend so well with some parts of the poem. My blog page looks so grim and dark after that ‘moonstruck’ post, I so desired some splashes and sprays of green and prosperous yellow on my page, hence this post. An attempt to fill my blog page and my days with colours! My love for green, green and more green always tempted me to click the Cambodian countryside whenever I got a chance to travel, leaving many of the pictures  ‘shaken or stirred’ as they were clicked from moving vehicles! So this post is just a cocktail of some photos I like, a sunshine cocktail of fragments of poetry I picked from Longfellow, Goldsmith and Gray; nothing more.

 

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 ‘When the lowing  herd wind slowly over the lea…’cattle heading back home, in the evening

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“…Day with its burden and heat had departed, and twilight

descending
Brought back the evening star to the sky, and the herds to the
homestead.
Pawing the ground they came, and resting their necks on each
other,
And with their nostrils distended inhaling the freshness of
evening.
Foremost, bearing the bell, Evangeline’s beautiful heifer,
Proud of her snow-white hide, and the ribbon that waved from her
collar,
Quietly paced and slow, as if conscious of human affection.” ~Longfellow

What  vivid pictures these lines evoke!

Pastoral bounty and bliss-cows grazing

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”Patiently stood the cows meanwhile, and yielded their udders
Unto the milkmaid’s hand; whilst loud and in regular cadence
Into the sounding pails the foaming streamlets descended.
Lowing of cattle and peals of laughter were heard in the
farm-yard,
Echoed back by the barns. Anon they sank into stillness;”

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Khmer rural houses on stilts; the ground level provide shelter for the livestock

Connecting my images with the lines from famous poets gives immense joy. Milkmaids’ hands filling the pails would be unknown and unheard of to the Cambodians as they hardly use milk and dairy products, nevertheless I imagine these morning scenes Longfellow sketched taking place in the Cambodian households…The cascading streamlets filling the milkmaid’s pails. Simple joys of rustic life.

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An early morning scene-Kampot

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‘Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,’ (Gray)

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Vast stretches of paddy fields- many shades of green and yellow

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How often have I loitered o’er thy green,
Where humble happiness endeared each scene!
How often have I paused on every charm,
The sheltered cot, the cultivated farm,
The never-failing brook…( Goldsmith)

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Oft did their harvest to their sickle yield

Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke’~ Gray

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A click from a moving car couldn’t mar the beauty of this idyllic pastoral scene in the early morning sun

And  now returning to The Deserted Village… after giving a pleasing and delightful image of ‘Sweet Auburn, loveliest village of the plain’,

‘Where health and plenty cheared the labouring swain,’  Goldsmith laments that his sweet village  has lost its innocence and charm, he condemns that ‘Man of wealth and pride/ takes up a space that many poor supplied’

“Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn,
Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn;
Amidst thy bowers the tyrant’s hand is seen,”…I am also afraid that these untouched, unstained lands are going to meet such a fate very soon.

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Even this muddy irrigation canal looks mud-licious!

My most favourite spots while travelling by the country roads…the lotus patches and stretches!

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Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness …

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For Cambodians fresh water fish is part of their staple diet. An abundance in water bodies like lakes and rivers makes fishing another major livelihood of the Khmer.

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Tonle Sap lake, Tonle Sap river, the mighty Mekong are all benevolent providers of daily bread

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The glassy river and the chinese net

The verdant green of paddy, the fluffy clouds up above and the tall silhouettes of sugar palms-the countryside looks perfect!

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At this point I reaffirm that it’s just a cocktail of some words and photos, but quite a ladleful dose of sunshine and cheer for me… and I dare to imitate the Bard  (due apologies) here

This blog’s but a fleeting shadow, a poorly piled up one
That struts and frets his hour upon the page
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of words and pictures
Signifying nothing.

Peace be with you all!

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