Friday, 28 August 2009

Harvest time was a golden time in my memory, hayfields and harvest – look at the English countryside and it is littered with the harvest home, bales and stacks. Unfortunately, as I was an asthmatic child, I was unable to assist much with the cutting and stacking of the hay , prior to the arrival of the baler. However , I came to assist with the tea and billy-can and the ubiqitious ‘soda farls’ to feed the workers (my two Uncles, brothers and sister). I came to assist with the packing and stacking of the bales into the barn.

And We Were Kings

We laid our back against the stack

And wiped the sweat and hayseeds from our brow

Caps cocked to shield the sun

thirst slain in the billy-can

We squinted at swallows in their drunken dives

With no rhyme nor reason nor route to roost

Our limbs tired and toiled those fields

till sunset, where stacks , some small

gave birth to bigger ones

The day the baler came with reverence we accepted

Its offspring into our blistered hands

And nursed that harvest home

With many a shout ‘Watch out’

as one bale tumbled from the trailer

into the pressure cooker barn

And we built castles that Summer eve'

Tight to the tin-high heaven roof

Castles for cattle whose winter weary days

Were bunged up in dunged-up, silent byres

And they would chew the cud

And chew the cud and sip the Summer dew

when Winter froze the ground

and we were boys in the Spring of our lives

Thursday, 27 August 2009


Thank you Patricia for your feedback

" interesting poems. I cannot get away with any certainty from rhyme schemes partricularly the terza rima. Your poetry has the same immediacy as impressionist painting and reminds me of my childhood on a farm in Essex"

Friday, 7 August 2009

When you are old

William Butler Yeats - I read my father "Lake Isle of Innisfree " just before he died. At the Flackwell Heath Writing Club, this week, I was asked to read this.

When you are old and grey and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.