The Soil Never Sleeps by Adam Horovitz (Palewell Press Ltd, pages 134)
Before I opened the book ”The Soil Never Sleep” I found myself hoping that Adam Horovitz had discovered – I don’t know by what miracle – the meaning of soil, and implicitly the serenity of life. Horovitz, the poet, the essayist, knows how to give his writer inspiration a context. His poetry has its own force and it pulls the beauty from the daily events of some farms.
A green shimmer of germinating oats
hangs over a raised lip
of ploughed earth, heavy
whit the last weight of well- timed rain.
and will not, now the pigs
have seen us coming. They seethe
to the fence, a tumult of stripes
and high – pitched grunting.
We discover the richness of innocence in the dialogue between the human and the natural world.
Make a noise like a sheep, calls Matthew ,
fidelity shout Meh heh heh. The sheep
pay no attention.
Reading his poetry I noticed the texture of the discreet lyric, under a sky going down up to the edge of the field. His poetry is bucolic, but also speaks about death. A pale sun shines over its winters , grass keeps a firm hold, in summer when animals are grazing…
Here, at the top of the field,
in the cold rise above the farm
where the wind sits heavy
on the sun’s shine,
grass grips close to soil.
Horovitz’s poetic world is made up of humble and evanescent elements which are reflected in pieces of domestic life: a dog, some chickens, stones, the sun, birds, rain, wind, calves, sheep, etc. All these elements with and without soul have a strong link with the human being or with the human sphere.
There’s a sheep splayed by the open gate
of the hay barn below Pikedaw
its hind legs skewed on stone,
tongue bloated, jaw set
like an emotion, insouciant in death.
Horovitz’ s poetry does not ask questions, nor does it seek answers. It is the pure ” to be”.
From the title of the book – The Soil Never Sleeps – it is extremely clear that it is not necessary to search for the meaning of the terms. It is true, ”the soil never sleeps”; There is a growling of life but Horovitz’ s lyrics are bursting with life, too: there is a rain ”like sour rain in a tarn after a storm”; light is alive ” the light, when it arrives / …/ hurls itself across hills”; children are happy ” Seventeen children from a city school / romp through the field, their laughter / tangled, in the valley’s brisk echo, / with the playful bark of dogs ”.
The four sections of the book – spring, autumn, winter, summer – remind us of Hesiod’s didactic poem dedicated to the pleasant work and to nature too – Works and Days Ἔργα καὶ Ἡμέραι.
In Hesiod’ s poem two myths dominate the work: the myth of Pandora and the myth of ages.
In Horovitz’ s work we discover two myths too: the myth of pleasant labour and the myth of ages which reflects itself in the passing of the seasons: spring , summer, autumn, winter.
In Hesiod, the harmony between human being, birds and deities is perfect:
δαιμονίη, τί λέληκας; ἔχει νύ σε πολλὸν ἀρείων·
τῇ δ’ εἶς ᾗ σ’ ἂν ἐγώ περ ἄγω καὶ ἀοιδὸν ἐοῦσαν·
δεῖπνον δ’, αἴ κ’ ἐθέλω, ποιήσομαι ἠὲ μεθήσω.
ἄφρων δ’, ὅς κ’ ἐθέλῃ πρὸς κρείσσονας ἀντιφερίζειν·
νίκης τε στέρεται πρός τ’ αἴσχεσιν ἄλγεα πάσχει.
(You fool, why do you scream? Someone much your better has you.
You go wherever I conduct you, songstress though you may be.
I shall make you my supper, if I wish, or let you go.
Senseless is he who wishes to set himself against his betters:
he lacks victory and suffers grief upon grief.)
Horovitz, too, creates this harmony in nature, placing it between earth (soil), animals and man.
” I believe I understood that land once, long ago,
a child running in the mother’s footsteps, who gleaned
the name of birds that burst from hedgerow …”
A vulnerable sensibility appeals the little joys without which life does not make sense. The perfect time for Adam Horovitz is that spent in nature. This is because the metaphor of life is blooming in the countryside, under the large sky.
” I cling on hard, perched like a parrot
behind Neil, the dogs racing us as we
pass the erratic downward flow of tractors,
hikers and tourists in polished car. ”
Time is passing. But it is a happiness to be in nature, to observe the birds, the sheep, the dogs, to observe the motions of labour, to feel the breath of the soil. Horovitz ‘s poetry reflects the passing of seasons and of life too. The earth is transforming itself, it is metamorphosing, it is changing itself, it takes off its new clothes and put on decrepit ones. Autumn is coming, then winter, and life is dropping to death. Spring and summer are memories.
The season begins with a ram, drawn
docile from his trailer into mountain- spun mist. //
Skirrid sucks cloud into itself
as the first rains of autumn sing
summer into a waking memory of grass. ”
Horovitz has an endoscopic eye, everything is under surgical observation. Winter is described in detail. The poet looks upon existence with a kind eye because the matter of things in nature is animating , giving you a thrill. Winter is unleashing itself, and offers the poet its pictorial metaphors.
”scudding over skylark nests,
past trailers in a choppy lake of mud where
fair-weather pigs lay hugger mugger
squealing softly for calmer waters and for spring.”
In accordance with Ortega y Gasset, we remember that man is a profoundly disoriented being who wants to improvise comfortable settlements. But, the poetry of Adam Horovitz finds this steadiness through the pleasant work in nature, even in winter time when you can do nothing but look how ”wind carves the field.” It is the case of self – reflexive poetry where Adam Horovitz is the main character.
”Bloody Adam stalls in the field
as a sheepdog hurtles past
lean as a comet, sleek
through the sideways strike of winter rain. ”
The migration of the seasons is not the traditional one because Horovitz chooses to close his book with summer and not with winter.
It is an excellent decision because ” The Soil Never Sleeps”. Therefore, the soil from the ages of the seasons has no sleep. The soil is germinating as the poetry of Adam Horovitz is rising from the soul of nature.
Adam Horovitz is a performer, poet and journalist. He was born in 1971. He is the son of the poets Michael Horovitz and Frances Horovitz. He grew up in Gloucestershire.
He has been active as a poet since the 1990s. He was the poet in residence for Glastonbury Festival. He was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship in 2012. His poetry has appeared in a number of magazines: Acumen, Tellus, Bare Fiction, etc.
Lucia Daramus is a British – Romanian poet, writer, literary critic and classicist, who is living in Stroud and an artist whose works demonstrate her fascination with archaeology, history of antiquity, literature and philosophy. She was published in some magazines in Romania, France, Germany, England, Canada, She published poetry, essay, short story, play, novel, literary review. In one of her essays – ‘ When The Colours Flow Over The Universe‘ – she said: You can lose your country, you can lose your land, you can lose all of your wealth , but you remain with something: you remain with your language to lament your sadness, your blue feelings; you remain with the colour to reflect the anxiety of your soul; you remain with the dance which can imagine your struggle.
If all of these are kidnapped because of an ill-luck of an illness of mind, you remain with the memory of these types of creation which come from subconscious.