Thursday, 17 September 2009

The Country Girl.

TFE's Monday challenge for next week is to write a poem about one's "Hometown". Quite a challenge, I think - but I shall attempt it, come Monday.
But the whole idea set me thinking while I was gardening(well, snipping a dead head off here and there - the "real" gardening I now have to leave mainly to the farmer). Where we are born and live our early lives must surely shape our whole life. When I lived in a multi-racial city I used to look at some of the people from the Indian subcontinent, who had moved there, and wonder whether they ever felt a longing for the heat, the smells, the landscape that they had left behind.

I was born in very rural Lincolnshire - the low fenlands that stick out into the North Sea. This was in the 1930's and it was a very insular community. The vicar and the schoolmaster and the judge who lived in the "big house" all had cars, and the man who lived at The Manor had a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce. Other than that we all caught the train or the bus and thought nothing of it. Distances were a mystery to us - a journey of fifteen miles was a day's journey if you had to catch two buses to get to your destination.
Man-made fibres had yet to be invented in quantity and we wore wool, wool and more wool in the winter, to keep out the cold east winds which the locals said blew straight in from Russia as there was nothing between us to stop it.
I cut my teeth in the country and lived there for the first thirty years of my life. Then I moved - first to a small cathedral city and then to a big urban connurbation with a huge multi-racial society. I loved my teaching years there, but even then I got out into the countryside every weekend to walk.
Now I am back in deepest Yorkshire - back to my roots almost - and those city years have fallen away.

I am a country girl, used to living
close to the weather.
When the East winds blew
"straight from The Urals",
cutting their scorching coldness
straight through my layers
of clothing,
I tightened my belt,
drew my scarf closer,
and struggled - leaning -
into school.

City living's not for me.
Not for me the brightly lit
shop windows,
the paved footpaths,
the heavy traffic,
the noise,
the smell.

My noise is the noise of
birdsong,
of cattle lowing,
of the faint hum of the distant tractor
as it cuts the new furrow.
My smell is the new-mown hay,
the steaming cattle-dung,
the heady scent of may blossom
on the hedge.

Old habits die hard.
I cannot shake off my country cloak.
I have returned
to my roots. PT

38 comments:

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Weaver: Just beautiful. An ode to your life. I think it important, if we can, to honour who we know ourselves to be and where we come from. You awaken an urge in me to write poetry . . .

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I so wish I could live in the country. Your poem says it all for me.

Rachel Fox said...

You've done your Monday poem already!
x

Golden West said...

You are so right that where one grows up dictates so much about the direction that life ultimately takes. There are four generations of my family still living within a couple miles of each other, and although as adults we all ventured forth to live other places, we've all eventually found our way back home.

Pondside said...

I'll have to think on this one, having grown up 'all over'. I feel comfortable in many places, but have to admit to a tinge of envy for a childhood rooted as yours was.

Teresa said...

What a beautiful post - and such a lovely, heartfelt poem. As a transplant from the city to the country, I echo your thoughts. Give me the life of a country gal!

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

As I read your poem, it made me realise that shop windows are something I have always liked (no surprise maybe) and the bright lights of the city - not the noise or smells, of course! But I also appreciate beautiful country views.

Leenie said...

I felt a kinship with you, Weaver. I especially liked the lines, "scorching coldness" and "leaning into school." Although our cold wind comes in from the southwest; the smell of steaming cattle dung (plus a lot of nicer scents) and the sound of a distant tractor plowing the dark earth will always say, "home." Very fine poety.

Janice Thomson said...

Absolutely love this Weaver.
I too move back to my country roots in November...and I can't wait. Funny how the circle completes itself.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Another lovely poem. Thank you.
I grew up outside the city and I feel comfortable there. London is one of my favourite places. But I could easily live a happy life without ever seeing a city again, whilst I would no doubt shrivel and die if I thought I could never again see the country. I feel most at home in the country. The wilder the better.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Nice poem Weaver,I love the idea of wearing a country cloak! I met a man from Dublin living in the wilds of Connemara and I told him how lucky he was in such a beautiful place.He replied that it was Okay, but he missed the concrete! Horses for courses, I guess?

Hildred and Charles said...

I am a transplanted city girl - moved to the country when I was married and learned to love every aspect of country living, -

Your poem is beautiful Weaver, -'close to the weather' - how that phrase pricks at the heart of country living.

deb said...

I grew up in rural Essex, amid cows and cornfields...and now here I am in suburban America, one of the things I like about my adopted home is how it reminds me of the home of my heart so many miles away.

Dominic Rivron said...

Really good!

Gramma Ann said...

I was a country girl all my life. I hate the BIG cities. But, for the last 11 years we have lived in a small town, and I love it. It's more of a country town, no BIG city life for me.

I so enjoyed your poem today, brought back memories of my farming and country life.

Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such nice comments. I'm afraid of late, I have not been a very good bloggin' buddy. I've slowed down in my posting and commenting. I think I am on a Summer blogging vacation. ;)

Heather said...

I with you all the way Weaver. I must reread TFE's instructions as I thought we had to listen to another piece of music for next week's poem. Your poem made me think of my childhood in the country - different county and maybe not quite so cold but otherwise quite similar - a lovely piece.

Reader Wil said...

Great poem!
"City living's not for me.
Not for me the brightly lit
shop windows..." I can't agree more. Every time I go to Rotterdam I feel a bit insecure, because there are too many people. No body says "Hello", whereas in our village almost everybody greets you.
Thanks for your post! Have a great weekend!

Amy said...

you're very blessed growing up in the country, I was a city girl but have lived in the country for 12 years - I'd never go back

Elizabeth said...

Returning to your roots is the way to go.
A most lovely poem.

Cloudia said...

This rich essay/poem should be published!

Thank you for, once again, sharing human treasure that ennobles my day. Your honesty and savory words challenge all of us bloggers to "up" our game.

Good Show


Aloha

Comfort Spiral

steven said...

hello weaver, from inside the depths of your experiencing comes this lovely containment of the loop of your living. so many people have followed the path you describe and yet i wonder how many have been so blessed as to follow it from gentle source to gentle source with all the distractions of contemporary society in-between? thanks for this. i feel fortunate to visit here. steven

Jane Moxey said...

I love your poem! So glad you are now in a place that feels familiar and right after various adventures of living in many places. Being an Army brat and having lived in many places, too, I've never really had that sense of belonging anywhere in particular and seem to be able to adapt pretty well to any new place. I've convinced myself that home is where the heart is at any particular time! I suppose the need for eating familiar British foods is as close as I get to that sort of longing for old familiar things having lived more than half my life in the US!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Bonnie - I suppose I am fortunate in that circumstances have worked out right for me.
Lisa - I think I have been very lucky. Somnetimes one's work dictates that one lives in a town - but you can still be a country girl at heart.
Rachel - ha! Maybe I am wrong but most song lyrics seem a bit daft to me - so I a trying to write a Monday poem with a similar style.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Golden West - that is interesting. My brother lived all over the country and then retired back to where we came from. I contemplated a similar move and decided against it - luckily - if I had moved back there I would never have met the farmer.

Mistlethrush said...

What a varied experience you have within England. I haven't managed to move from the village I was born in and I'm 50 next month!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Pondside I think that in some ways you have an advantage if you have grown up "all over." It eans that wherever life takes you you have the ability to settle there.

Teresa - you have had a lucky transplant - I knew some city people who tried to live up here and hated it - she said she would rather be woken up by traffic than by ducks quacking at 5 in the morning!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Derrick - maybe you have the best of both worlds in Melrose - small town life and the country on your doorstep.
Leenie - thank you for your kind words.
Janice - good luck with your move back to your roots - do hope it all works out well for you.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Pamela - I think those are my sentiments exactly. I love to go to London and see the exhibitions but it is so nice to come home. Now I no longer get the opportunity to go to London I miss it sometimes - but of choice I would rather be here.

The Weaver of Grass said...

TFE - Horses for courses is it exactly.
Hildred - thanks for the comment.
Deb - one of the things I notice whenever I go to US is that it is such a big wide open country that you can be in the middle of a city and then suddenly you are in the country with huge skies. Denver is a perfect example of that - leave Denver on the Amtrak for Salt Lake City and in minutes you are out in the wilds.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Dom - thanks.

Gramme ann - we all need a break sometimes - I love your quotes, they often set me up for the whole day. Nice to have a visit from you - but don't feel under obligation to return the call.

Heather - you are correct - it is listening to a piece of music but the first piece he suggested was about one's hometown - that gave e the idea - shall be poemising on Monday as usual.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Reader wil - I too get that feeling of insecurity when I visit our nearest town. I feel very odd and can't wait to get out of it. Maybe it is lack of use - if we went there every day we would lose that feeling I think.

Amy - glad you have taken to country life so well.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Elizabeth and Cloudia for your comments.

Steven - your comment always makes me feel good.

Jane - I think there are advantages to moving around a lot. Iknow one or two "army brats" and they seem happy to live anywhere - so it is not all bad.

Dave King said...

I agree with Rachel. Reading your intro' I was wondering how I would find a way in to write a poem on my home town. I couldn't see one in the time it took me to get to yours, so I am full of admiration for it. Very well done indeed.

dinesh chandra said...

GOOD POETRY , GREAT POETRY , I LOVE TO READ THE BLOG AS WHOLE GOD BLESS YOU.

Regards

DINESH CHANDRA

Poet in Residence said...

A lovely poem Weaver. You say so much in so few words - and so very well. By the way, many thanks for your recent comments. Appreciated!

jinksy said...

Your roots have produced a luscious top growth!

mrsnesbitt said...

I read your blog this afternoon, just before we had a blast to Whitby so I have been thinking about my contribution for the afternoon! Good thinking place, on the back of a motorbike!

mrsnesbitt said...

Mine is done too!