The farm – a page in history no less;
written in the sweat and toil of men
who laboured hard to tame the wilderness.
With scythe and plough they cut and clawed their way
through stubborn shrubs and stone, until long last
emerged the nascent shoots of wheat and hay.
These early hillside farmers knew full well
that should the harvest fail through blight or drought,
famine would hastily pave their road to hell.
But now, from in our ivory towers we see
a different picture of the gentrified farm,
as food arrives from Waitrose, trouble free.
A visit planned beyond the farmyard gate,
will likely be with child, to stroke the lambs;
or walk alpacas while the farmers wait.
When maize is grown for maze and not for food,
those early farmers might well feel betrayed
by this dramatic, modern change of mood.
Their spirits, though must try to bear in mind
the flow of history throughout the centuries past
builds only on the progress left behind.
The magic of a lane for me when cycling
in rain or shine; it lures me further on,
Now in the wood, and then along the shores
with shrieking shingle churned by tide and wave,
the wild sea pours.
A turn – which way to go? It matters not,
for each will charm me in its unique way;
I know not what.
Is that the top? “You’re joking” moans the hill
in voice lugubrious, mocking the upward toil;
a bitter pill
to swallow. But it does me good, for when
the top ‘fore long looms large, I shout for joy
– a climb well done.
Whilst cycling ‘tween a Kentish oast and mill
I spot a kestrel hovering in the sky;
he hangs so still
while searching down below for movement slight,
that may betray a mouse or scuttling bug;
then stoops with might
Swift most gone, the swallows scooping low
dissect the fields in search of insect fare
before they go.
And so the country lane once more, for me
holds pleasure as it draws me further on
Love it or loathe it, try as we may
The topic of rainfall now hangs in the air.
Whilst trapped in a heatwave, week after week
Our zest for good weather is fading away.
After a night with a downpour so welcome,
I’m out on my bike in air that’s so fresh
That, though the sun’s shining, it’s ten degrees cooler;
Nigh on perfection for trundling to Telscombe.
With farmers on tractors and campers in vans
I’m sharing the road rising up to the dyke;
Each with a weather eye cast to the sea
Wond’ring how any rainfall may alter their plans.
With nettles hung high on the bank o’er the lane;
With fresh bales of hay toppling down to the sea;
With knapweed and blackberries fringing the fence,
The sensuous messages rush to my brain.
So, when we are constantly talking of weather
Our views about rain will rarely concur;
Though heatwave and sunshine are good for the goose,
We mustn’t forget what’s good for the gander.