STLT#70, Heap High the Farmer’s Wintry Hoard

Well, that was boring.

Maybe I’m asking too much of a hymn. Maybe I am too invested in meaning and movement. Maybe it’s okay to have songs that just sit there and get folks to sing together even if all they are doing is noticing the season. Maybe the singing is enough.

These lyrics, though. “Let’s here it for the harvest. Yay, harvest!” Sigh.

Heap high the farmer’s wintry hoard! Heap high the golden corn!
No richer gift has autumn poured from out the lavish horn!

Through vales of grass and meads of flowers our plows their furrows made,
while on the hills the sun and showers of changeful April played.

We dropped the long, bright days of June beneath the sun of May,
and frightened from our sprouting grain the robber crows away.

All through the long, bright days of June its leaves grew green and fair,
and waved in hot mid-summer’s noon its soft and yellow hair.

And now, with autumn’s moonlit eyes, its harvest time has come,
we pluck away the frosted leaves and bear the treasure home.

Maybe I am missing something. Maybe it’s my sad mood, matched by a dark, rainy day that called me to linger in bed in order not to face it. Maybe it’s like those damn morning songs that came the days after the election – too much joy for the day. Or maybe I am still too cynical to be happy just noticing a thing that happens every year and celebrating it. We’re coming up on Christmas, and I am really clear that it has meaning and resonance for our time, so the celebration is in fact a call to resistance. This is just… there.

It’s not a hard tune to sing – Land of Rest appears serveral times in the hymnal and has a familiarish melody. And if you sing it with a lilt, it could be almost Irish.

But I’m not a fan of the lyrics and am not sure why I would ever use a hymn like this when there are others that connect more deeply.

For those who were hoping for more analysis, wit, or poetry, I’m sorry. This one is just a dud to me, and so you get a dud of a post. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

1 Comment

  1. I have never used this hymn. Just the line “and frightened from our sprouting grain the robber crows away” may be enough to disqualify it. I know inversions are sometimes necessary to make a rhyme, but that one is ludicrous.


Comments are closed.