Another Planter’s Daughter

In school, one of my favourite poems was Austin Clarke’s ‘The Planter’s Daughter.’

I still love this poem, its imagery and melody. It goes like this:

When night stirred at sea,
And the fire brought a crowd in
They say that her beauty
Was music in mouth
And few in the candlelight
Thought her too proud,
For the house of the planter
Is known by the trees.

Men that had seen her
Drank deep and were silent,
The women were speaking
Wherever she went —
As a bell that is rung
Or a wonder told shyly
And O she was the Sunday
In every week.

Recently, I indulged my captivation with this beautiful poem by composing what I call an ‘undersong’ – giving voice to another planter’s daughter.

My poem, titled The Brightening was published recently in The Irish Times. You can read it here.


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