What Is Left Undone Must Be Carried On Or Forgotten #DVersePoets #Prosery

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.


All To Market #DVersePoets #TuesdayPoetics

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.






NaPoWriMo Day Four

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 came before

and worked to the bone

to build something for the next.

He must now face the Spring.

The possibility they might not survive

to see the milk prices rise

or his children take his place.

And all that will left

are empty parlours and empty fields

and empty hearths

where generation, after generation

came in to hang their hats

and laugh by the fire

once upon a time

when days were better.

Your Sheep

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 were your sheep

that left my hands sticky with Lanolin

and thinking of the kitchen in Spring

warm and inviting

as you came in from the rain.




This piece turned out a lot longer than I expected to. The prompt was to write a piece using the theme of a smell that brought up the memory of something. To be honest there were a few memories I could have picked and a few scents that I could have used, but the strongest connect I’ve discovered is that the smell of sheep always reminds me of my mother. Anyone who has lived with a sheep farmer knows that the smell gets into everything and while it isn’t the most pleasant of smells, for me it’s incredibly comforting. It’s the smell of home.


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.