At the farmer's funeral, a week ago yesterday, the Eulogy (the early years written by his sister and the later ones written by me) ended with a poem written by one of his nieces. She says she doesn't know where it came from; I say that it is obvious that it came from her heart. I have asked her permission to print it here - and she has given it. So here is Anthea's poem. Read it and you have the farmer - in a nutshell:
I hope there's cows in heaven, with calves for me to feed.
I hope there's sheep with lots of lambs that skip around the fields.
Chickens in the orchard and wild birds flying free,
From the treetops, through the hedgerows, they are singing just for me.
I'm drawn into the meadow by the smell of sweet turned hay.
I wonder if it's ready or it needs another day.
I'm greeted by some old pals with a wagging of their tails,
So we walk a little further across fields of rig and furs*.
Standing by the beck side with the water crisp and clear,
Memories are flowing, thoughts of many happy years.
The fields that I have tended and the stonewalls I've rebuilt,
The seeds that I have scattered and the weeds
I've made wilt.
The barns are now redundant but forever they'll remain,
So we head on over yonder, up the hill to old Mill Lane.
The gate's already open and the sunlight's getting low,
I turn to face the farm now, one more look before I go.
South Dyke in all its glory, bathed in golden light.
My little piece of heaven
I've lived here all my life.
*rig and furs - many of our fields still bear the
undulating rigs and furrows from medieval farming.