The house bursting and yet empty. This is a bareness of harvest or pestilence. Tilly put the book down when her Aunt asked what she was reading. She made an excuse and escaped through the kitchen. Hurried along the pockmarked lane. The keys were cold in her palm, which was odd, seeing as they had been hung by the Aga. When she climbed the gate she heard him muttering about townies always f’ing over good gates by not climbing over hinge end. The tractor won’t start at first, takes a little coaxing. Great Old Lady, done more than her fair share of things and would carry on longer than he would no doubt. She eased it into gear and checked the harrow out of the back window. He’d liked things finished, seen through to the end. Today was as good a day as any.
When the backboard drops they spill like water over a fall, woolly bodies frothing from the flight decks, feet upon each others’ backs. There is a boy behind the hurdles, already knee bent in anticipation, fingers spread for the catch. Outside, a woman is selling cauliflower. Holds the head of it like a newborn between the palms of her hands. A farmer rattles pounds in his fist, counts his luck, passed it on to the winning bid. In a corridor there is a circle of bowed heads and five pence jumps, till the circumference is a singular. A lone man is loading up, clicks the gates on what he brought, tries not to fumble the catch. Someone whispers at an absence, shakes a head at suspicion, does a math of miles inside their head. They wait to hear the hammer fall.
April is the cruellest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain. T.S. Eliot – The Wasteland – I. The Burial Of The Dead I love T.S Eliot. My collection of his work is currently leant out to a friend which meant I had to google this poem, but his writing is something I find myself amazed at over and over again. Today’s prompt for NaPoWriMo was to take the first line of this poem and write our own about which month we think is the cruellest. At the moment I would say that April is perhaps the cruellest month. Now normally I don’t bring politics into my poems, but I thought I would give it a go today. Facing The Spring It’s an undercurrent, a muttering, a rip-tide lurking beneath the surface. This talk has been around for months. Spring brings up more than just the daffodils. This job was his life. This job his father’s life. His grandfather’s, his great father’s, those men who …
You’d complain when I hugged you straight in from the field and shedding your waterproofs darkened with rain the water still dripping from your hair and your nose red and bright as you hunted for a hankie somewhere in the multitude of pockets stuffed with bits of bailer twine, pocket knife, pens and ear tag numbers. ‘I smell like sheep,’ you’d complain, and you did. Heavy and clinging it had a way of hanging on like another layer sinking into the skin until it engrained after too many long days moving livestock field to field Foot trimmer, lamber, fleece folder, that amount of work should have seemed insane. To me it did and I think you saw it too, still see it but love it too much for anything else. We went drawing lambs at Colehurst, me knee deep in sheep while you sorted them at the top swearing at them for being difficult but telling me you ‘bloody loved your sheep’. Your sheep, not dads, not ours, god knows not mine. They …
It’s raining again and the winter barley waits for a gap in the clouds and a call to the contractors, for a time slot three weeks in the future, not soon enough. And we will watch as the gap in the clouds rolls on past us onto different fields greyness in its wake as the heads droop and the stems crumple waiting for better weather.
For once we are done. No more barely, oats or wheat left upon these fields. Once again I’m chattering on about farming, but for good reasons this time. We’ve finished harvesting before August! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a year when my family has achieved this. [We did have a lot less in the way of cereals this year which helped.] Anyway, for those of you who have hung in over the years you might remember last August when I tried and for the most part succeeded in writing a haiku each day of the month. Well I’m at it again guys! Apologies if you hate haikus. For those of you who love them feel free to join in! Prepare for the haiku tsunami!
Every year the combine breaks down. This year it seems things are more serious than most.