“Living on the Glebe”. . . and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

The Japanese Tea Garden, San Mateo, CA © Jamie Dedes

“What is this life so full of care,
We don’t have time to stand and stare.”
William Henry Davies, The Collected Poems of William H. Davies; With a Portrait



The last Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, to write about farms and farming (Conjuring Farmhouses), December 12, is covered quite broadly here with responses from Gary W. Bowers, Paul Brookes, Irma Do, Jen E. Goldie, Shiela Jacob, Frank McMahan, Mike Stone, and Anjum Wasim Dar. These will provoke some thought and much pleasure, spiked as they are with memoir, questions, humor, and insight.  Enjoy!

Wednesday Writing Prompt will return on January 16, 2019.  


three cow salute

walking to my high school meant walking past three cows
just as 61st avenue came to its
senses and straightened up
south of bethany home road
and what was then
a bobwire fence held back these bored cows
who stood and chewed or didn’t
and slowly turned
their
heads
in
unison
as
you
passed

they were the stolid
they were the stupefied
the stunned
the milkbaggy trio
the watchers of boys and girls

they needed a date with a frisky bull
or maybe they needed nothing
but daily relief from udder strain
grass
and me tweaking their monotony
into near monotony

couldn’t tell you
don’t know why those bored
and boring cows still lease space
in a pasture in my head
just know
the smell of horseshit does nothing for me
but
the smell of cowshit
has more than once filled
my stupid stolid eyes
with nostalgic tears

© 2018, Gary W. Bowers (One With Clay, Image and Text)


 

Purifying shepherds

Smoke from burning

droplets of blood from the tail
of last October’s sacrificed horse,
ashes of the stillborn calves,
the shells of beans.

We are sprinkled with water,
wash our hands
in spring-water,
drink milk mixed with must.

Towards evening after shepherds
fed their flocks,
laurel-branches
are used as brooms
to clean their stables,
water sprinkled through them,
then stables adorned
with laurel-boughs.

Shepherds burn sulphur,
rosemary, fir-wood, and incense,
usher the smoke through the stables
and the flocks to purify them.

cakes, millet, milk,
and other food
is offered.

Hay and straw bonfires lit
cymbals and flutes play
as sheep and shepherds
are run three times
through the fire.

At an open air feast
we sit or lay
on turf benches
and sup a lot.

© Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History . Imagination.)

A Burning Fox

A twelve year old lad in a valley
at the end of a willow copse
catches a vixen fox, snacker
on many a farmyard fowl.

He wraps it in straw and hay,
sets her alight, she escapes him
and in her fleeing sets fire to crops
in the fields, a breeze goads the flames.

Vital winter’s snap to feed
family destroyed.

So every festival of Grow,
a fox is burned.

© Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History . Imagination.)

White Lady

Crowned white lady with flowing hair,
and fiery shoes, carries a spindle
and a three-cornered mirror
that foretells the future.

For nine nights before May Day,
chased by Wild Hunt Winter,
hounded from place to place,
she seeks refuge among villagers.

Folk leave their windows open
so she can find safety
behind cross-shaped panes.

Implores a farmer she meets to hide her
in a shock of grain. He does.
next morning his rye crop
is sprinkled with grains of gold

© Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History . Imagination.)

Blessed Are These Sacred Folk

who plough
who prepare the earth
who plough with a wide furrow to bring water from the river
who plant seeds
who trace the first ploughing, reploughing as first did not work
who harrow
who dg
who weed
who reap
who carry the grain
who store the grain
who share the grain
who share their good fortune with us, the dead

© Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History . Imagination.)

Paul’s Amazon Page U.S. HERE

Paul’s Amazon Page U.K. HERE

More poems by Paul at Michael Dickel’s Meta/ Phore(e) /Play

Prolific Yorkshire Poet, Paul Brookes

FYI: Paul Brookes, a stalwart participant in The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt, is running an ongoing series on poets, Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Connect with Paul if you’d like to be considered for an interview. Visit him, enjoy the interviews, get introduced to some poets who may be new to you, and learn a few things.

The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Jamie Dedes


Bed and Breakfast – A Haibun

The blue sky smelled of manure. Even the allure of coffee and raw milk, homemade bread with rhubarb jam and omelets plucked from their mother just that morning couldn’t overcome the scent that distinctly said, “You’re on a working farm.”

The distinct sound of a tractor pulled up to the farmhouse door. The farmer offered us a hay ride around the farm and explained the difference between hay and straw, silo versus barn. The farmer named each machine and it’s purpose, but not the animals.

That night, I briefly wondered if the chicken that gave her life for our pot pie dinner also sacrificed her progeny for our breakfast. And if the rooster that would wake us in the morning, knew what happened to his family.

Plastic and foam trays

Deception and protection

Farmers eat the truth

Yes, that’s me on a tractor – picture courtesy of one of my sorority sisters who posted some “throwback pictures” of a reunion we had a bed and breakfast in the Pennsylvania countryside a few years after we graduated college. I don’t think the tractor was actually moving for the picture, but it was a first for this city girl!

Coincidentally, Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing prompt requested: This week share poem/s out of your own nostalgia, experience, impressions, gratitude, concerns, or convictions about farms, farming, or farm policy. Despite now living in “farm country”, I still don’t know about farming although I do appreciate the numerous farmers markets in our area.

One thing I do know: I am very appreciative of the men and women who work on farms because I know I don’t have the constitution or inclination to grow things or kill things to eat. Maybe because living in cities, I was never exposed to that reality and thus my aversion to being close to the true source of what I/we eat. Food came in a package and didn’t have faces. Maybe if more people were aware of the reality of farming, there would be less food waste and a better understanding of the need to conserve and protect the environment/nature and animals as finite resources. But what do I know…I’m just a city girl…

© 2018, Irma Do (I Do Run, And I do a few other things too ….)


A Secret Place

When Dad barked
You hopped to it,
Let’s go! In the car!
He loved the country.
One day, he said,
I’m moving to some
Small town,
Somewhere,
Someday.
Got my love of trees,
Wide expanses
And the smell of grass
From him
I guess.
Let’s go pick strawberries.
Get some fresh picked apples,
Some corn, if it’s ready,
Right from the field.
He always took the
Side roads
On our way to
Where he wanted
To be.
I marvel,
Now,
Where he was
Coming from,
Some secret desire,
Some past life,
Taking him home….

© 2018, Jen E. Goldie


Living On The Glebe

A tithed farm had flourished
since Queen Victoria’s reign.
Then the council needed acres
of land, built a housing estate
in the 1930’s for families like
us who couldn’t afford to buy.

Small, airy houses with an inside
toilet and coal shed, no running
hot water but spacious gardens
front and back.We made our home
here in the ’50’s and I walked past
apple trees to my first school.

Elderly neighbours recalled
the redbrick farmhouse, told
how they were sent there
as children and exchanged
a few pence for pats of golden
butter and hay-warmed eggs.

They felt the land’s closeness
despite shops and post office
and bus routes to the city centre.
Road names were echoes.
Farmcote Swancote
Old Farm Glebe Farm

And during the War,they dug
over their long back gardens.
Potatoes and turnips grew again.
Carrots were shaken free of soil,
peeled, grated and added to cake
mix instead of rationed sugar.

© 2018, Shiela Jacob


Allotment

Hefting water out of the river to
feed the newly-planted.Long years since I
had to do the same on Uncle’s farm:enamel
white bucket hung from a windlass,sweet
water drawn from deep. I could lift but half
a pailful then. Brothers, neighbour’s girls,
rudimentary washes after endless
play; earth closet in the yard, potatoes,
their skins slowly curling in the cauldron
on the hearth.Somewhere a clock. Bored one day,
I stood beside the well and bawled for help.
Dad came running and rough chastisement
was love’s affirmation.

Brief check before I
swooshed down the hay bales in the barn, guiltless
until the straws in my hair betrayed me.
The years have added muscle, as I bend
and dip and lift from the grateful water,
remembering my boyhood’s guilty smile.

© 2018, Frank McMahan


.trail.

the sight is disgusting

to the last degree

blind horse

liver sauce on fish

they turn the hay

eighteen

times

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher

. monday evening.

rain came, seeds will grow.

watered places i cannot reach,

butt half full.

noisy day, farmer making hay,

lambs moved from mothers.

they say the sun will come

later to dry .

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher

.growing potatoes.

the robin came down as he cleared the ground,
all red chest, pretty eyes.

we discussed the earth, rich now, without
the stones. we could grow potatoes as they
did here in the war. i have the photograph.

these are fortunate times, while have disliked
the tuber since the flu struck.

there has been a lot of it this year here.

we plan a pretty little greenhouse, all white
with embellishments, red geraniums.

the robin watched, i am told he will like mealworms.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher

.limousines and chevrolets.

it was quite a while

then while travelling she noticed

an interest in cattle.knowing little

noted their shapes and patterns.

mentioned the farmers yesterday

most in rugged vehicles

dogs barking

one in a saloon car, the passenger

kind

full of food stuff

for cattle.

she wondered at the white ones

on her way home.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher


The Grand Scheme of Things

Raanana, April 11, 2016

The dark cloud squats heavily on the horizon
Undecided whether to drift slowly
Over our dusty fields with its fat bladder
Full of drought quenching rains
Or to drift up the coast a ways
To quench the thirst of our enemy’s fields.
O Lord, I know it makes no difference
In the grand scheme of things,
But I can’t help the fact
It would make all the difference in the world
To me.

(c) 2016, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

The Dead Don’t Envy the Living

Inspired by Wendell Berry’s “Testament

Raanana, August 17, 2018

The dead don’t envy the living
Any more than the living envy the dead.
Who’s to say what’s the best state
For matter to be in
In the long run?
I would think the best,
For one above ground,
Is to make the most of what you are
And, for those below,
To make the least.

(c) 2018, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works, Call of the Whipporwill)

Mike Stone’s Amazon Page is HERE.


Wheat Fields in Punjab, Pakastan courtesy of Ammarkh under CC BY-SA 3.0,

Farm and village
soul and spirit
a nation’s harvest  giver,
agri-armor of defense ,

lived in one,never,
but  loved  one where
Grand Dad lived
near the Jhelum River

A place, Sarai Alamgir
with tilled fields
lush green yields,
lands fulfilling needs

wells run by cattle
in circles, bound
pulling out water
round and round

and we so freely….
running in the fields
touching the trees
shouting and singing
with the breeze

But

When land is threatened
by famine ,when food is scarce
by waywardness and sins,
when fuel is short
and dry are the streams
the farmer with his horse
and plough
is back in the fields-

the backbone of the people
he is following his dreams
or so it seems-
going back in time

working coping hoping
amidst blasts and screams’
Farmer Farmer get some coal
if you want your crop
and reach your goal

Farmer farmer get your horse
for salvation of the loss
Farmer Farmer get your plough
Let us work and fulfill our vow’

© 2018, poems (English and Urdu/below), Anjum Wasim Dar

کسان اور گاوؑں

 کسان اور  گاوؑں
روح   رواں  زندگی
زرہ بکتر  زراع و دفاع

رہنا فارم پہ کبھی نا ھوا
دادا کے گھر سے پیار ھوا
سراےؑ  عالم گیر جھلم دریا

گاوؑں تھا  پیارا سا
لھلھاتے کھیت و باغ
ھر سو سبزا سبزا ھوا

کوؑیں سے جوتے بیل
کھیت میں پانی ڈالے
ڈبے پے ڈبا  ٓاتا  جاؑے

اور ھم  کھلے میدان میں
بھاگتے دوڑتے ھنستے
درختوں کہ چھوتے رہتے

مگر جب

 زمین خطرے میں پڑھنے لگے
قحت و قلت ھو جاےؑ زیادہ
ایندھن کم اور ندیاں خشک

پھر کساں اپنا سامان لیکر
کھیت میں  واپس  جاتا ھے
گھوڑا جوت کہ ہل چلاتا ھے

اپنی قوم کی فکر ھے لاحک
اپنے خواب  ادھورے پا کر
محنت کرنے لگتا ھے

بم دھماکے اور چیخوں میں
بھایو ٓاو آوؑ  کوؑلہ  نیکالو
اپنا اپنا کھیت  اپنا  ہل بچاوؑ

صلیب کو دیکھو مسجد  جاوؑ
اپنا وعدہ پورا،  خوب نبھاوؑ

شاید  نجات مل  جاےؑ شاید بخشے جاوؑ

“Let us all strive for peace on Earth for all. Let us make a better world. Write to make peace prevail.”  Anjum Wasim Dar, Pakistani poet, writer, artist, educator, and parent.

1 thought on ““Living on the Glebe”. . . and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

  1. Dear Respected Jamie Ji Thank you for a beautiful thought provoking green’ prompt which took me years back to a joyful time, of sing along the way trips to Grand father’s home, by the river and I missed mentioning the railway track at the back side of the residential colony.We would excitedly glue ourselves to the window to see the steam engine roar by …one could see the coal blazing for it was a steam engine train..the Jhelum river bridge and the city so historical with the famous Rohtas Fort. Thank you so much and looking forward to 2019…prayers for The POET by Day which has given me the lifetime chance of being a bi lingual writer. Please continue with the exciting,challenging and thought provoking concepts and links to other literary resources and writers..This page inspires guides instructs and opens avenues to know about other cultures, current issues and best practices around the world..A tremendous effort and amazing inspiring themes, that I must say ‘The Good People bring out the Good in other people’ who are unaware of what is possible and best for the world outside..Thank you Jamie Ji May Allah bless you with the best always amen.

    Liked by 1 person

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