On Easter Eve, I most miss the country. Nature itself seems to share in the rejoicing at new life. The abundance of buds and blossoms and returning birds and lengthening evenings proclaim that death is never the end.
There is a natural theology in country life that has no mirror our suburbanised existence. Heaven, for me, will be like country life, or it won’t be heaven at all. Going through the pages of Praying with the English Poets, I came upon Charlotte Mew’s Old Shepherd’s Prayer, which I could have read at one time with an authentic West Country accent:
Up to the bed by the window, where I be lyin’,
Comes bells and bleat of the flock wi’ they two children’s clack.
Over, from under the eaves there’s the starlings flyin’,
And down in yard, fit to burst his chain, yapping out at Sue I do hear young Mac.
Turning around like a falled-over sack
I can see team ploughin’ in Whithy-bush field
and meal carts startin’ up road to Church-Town;
Saturday arternoon the men goin’ back
And the women from market, trapin’ home over the down.
Heavenly Master, I wud like to wake to they same green places
Where I be know’d for breakin’ dogs and follerin’ sheep.
And if I may not walk in th’ old ways and look on th’ old faces
I wud sooner sleep.