Beethoven in a Beetroot Field : Elspeth Brown


Beethoven’s great- great- grandfather bends his aching back

to howk another beetroot from the row, straightens,

stretches to the sky, hums an old folk song, rearranges it

then bends to grapple with the next row,

lowering his tone to match the earth. Row by row

he makes his tune. Remembers it to sing his son to sleep.

By morning it is a pattern in his head.

He hums close to the fresh green beetroot leaves,

he knows nothing of notes but adds a canopy of song,

like a cumulus cloud around his creation,

rise and fall, reach and bend,

Voice rising to greet the mid-day sun.