Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape
by John Ashbery
The poem tells us very little about this mysterious "country," or even what sense in which the word "country" is being used. Does it mean a nation or a rural landscape? In each stanza, the word has a slightly different meaning. In fact, the title might tell us more about the country than anything else in the poem.
- Title: The title is a parody of the title of a European landscape painting. It suggests "country" in the sense of farming.
- Line 3: The country is compared metaphorically to the solution to a Chinese puzzle called a tangram.
- Line 8: The word "plains" again makes reference to rural or country life. The "plains" are a flat region filled mostly with grasses and smaller plants.
- Line 12: The lyric "For this is my country" might be an allusion to the patriotic song "This is My Country," written in 1940.
- Line 25: Olives uses a metaphor in describing her former life. She compares "years" to a broken-up musical chord called an "arpeggio."
- Lines 26-27: The nature imagery in these lines suggests a wilder, less domesticated country.