Today is an important day for me in blogland, for it is a year today since I posted my first blog!
Coincidentally it is the date - July 16th - that Seth Apter (The Altered Page) has asked us all to post one of our early blogs again - one with which we were especially pleased. So I am posting an early poem here - a poem which is very close to my heart. Before I post it, here is a little preliminary paragraph of explanation.
The farmer and I have been married for sixteen years this August. I was a widow and he was a bachelor farmer. Round here there are plenty of bachelor farmers. For one thing, they are so busy working their land that they never have time to socialise or "meet anybody". Farmer's daughters nowadays don't seem to want to marry into farming as they see it as too hard a life.
The result is that these middle-aged farmers grow old alone - it is very sad. And as they grow old I feel they become more insular and enclosed in their own world - rather like the stone-walled fields they work on.
When we were "courting", if I walked through the fields and didn't see him, I would leave the farmer a message on the electric fence enclosing his dairy herd - that message would be a tiny bunch of wild flowers tied up with grass.
So here is the poem I first posted last July. I hope you enjoy it.
Message on a Wire
There is a stillness in your field.
Not a silence,
(for the mistle-thrush sings
on the topmost bough of the hawthorn,
and the beck finds its voice
as it slips over the stones
into the South meadow.)
But a stillness
from long ago
when the stone walls were built,
when the grass was sown
and peppered with wild flowers
in their season.
One day in July
the stillness would be broken.
The grass would be mown,
tossed, dried in the sun, smelt
and carried away to the stack.
Then the stillness would return.
Men who care for fields
feel that stillness,
soak it into their bones,
become that stillness,
within the confines of their walls.
I walked across your field today.
I could leave a message
on your answer-phone.
Or I could leave
and a cuckoo flower,
tied with a strand of grass,
hung on the electric fence.
Either way you will know..........