A leaping tongue of bloom the scythe had spared Beside a reedy brook the scythe had bared. The mower in the dew had loved them thus, By leaving them to flourish, not for us, Nor yet to draw one thought of ours to him, But from sheer morning gladness at the brim.
In the poem “The Tuft of Flowers,” the speaker refers to the character of the mower as he reflects on the tuft of flowers. Here, the speaker describes how the mower left a bunch of flowers untouched while mowing because he valued their beauty. Even though the mower’s job is to cut down all of the grass, including the flowers growing there, he sees and appreciates the beauty in nature and leaves the flowers simply because he enjoys them.
The butterfly and I had lit upon, Nevertheless, a message from the dawn, That made me hear the wakening birds around, And hear his long scythe whispering to the ground, And feel a spirit kindred to my own; So that henceforth I worked no more alone[.]
In these lines from “The Tuft of Flowers,” the speaker describes how the mower’s act of sparing the flowers sends a message about the importance of nature, both as an entity and as a source of beauty. The speaker explains that by sending this message, the mower not only makes the speaker reflect upon and appreciate nature more profoundly, but he creates a kinship between the two men, for they clearly share this appreciation of the natural world. Despite never physically seeing the mower, the speaker feels companionship in an otherwise isolating labor.
But glad with him, I worked as with his aid, And weary, sought at noon with him the shade; And dreaming, as it were, held brotherly speech With one whose thought I had not hoped to reach. “Men work together,” I told him from the heart, “Whether they work together or apart.”
Here, the speaker in “The Tuft of Flowers” continues to characterize the mower as he envisions their comradery amid parallel farm labor. After recognizing that the mower also sees and appreciates the beauty in nature, the speaker feels less alone in his labor and even envisions working side by side with the other man. The final quote reveals the true connection that the mower creates in his simple act of preserving a tuft of flowers.
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