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The Soil Never Sleeps

The Soil Never Sleeps




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.








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