Am Anfang… [we plough the fields and scatter, fresh translation]

 Matthias Claudius, 1740-1815. This translation: DJMC 2005  Looking at the German text of a familiar harvest hymn, I found a lot more joy and playfulness, and acknowledgement of the partnership with Creation that is Harvest

1) To start with, earth was  gloomy, and empty dark and bare

if anything should  come to light, it must be from elsewhere!

And that’s the way it happened

When God spoke in the now

As from that first beginning 

This very day that’s how..


All good gifts we’re given

Come forth from God the Lord

So thank him, thank him ,

Thank him, place

your trust and hope in God


2)We plough and then we scatter

The seed across the land

Though flourishing and growing

Are held in heaven’s hand

In softly-blowing breezes

God rises and comes near 

And trickles on our turning

to him all growth and cheer


3) God sends both dew and raindrops

and shines through sun and moon

and artful, weaves his blessing

his care so opportune 

so nimbly, lightly gently,

in field and daily bread

so all we think we’ve fashioned 

Comes forth from God instead


4.) The close things and the distant

– through God they come to be

The blade of straw, the star-filled night

The sand-grains, and the sea.  

From God  the fronds and forest

From God the fruit and grain

The lovely springtime showers

The snow and frightful  storm


5) God calls forth sun a-rising

Lays out  the pale moon’s way

Instructs the winds in blowing

Send clouds in sky to play

God’s gift is joy and laughter

Life radiant, free from dread:

He gives the cows their meadow

and all his children bread