Sonnet: Green field site

They broke me in the morning of the world.
With iron axes, oxen, fire and toil
They stripped me of my trees. A dark smoke curled
Into the sudden sky. My restless soil
Awakened by those ancients has not slept
These thousand years. Each autumn I’ve been torn
By plough and harrow; every winter kept
The new seed safe; in summer felt the corn
Stir with the wind, but never will again.
The concrete pours, the excavators bite:
My acres, seamed with sewer, duct and drain,
Will yield two hundred houses, packed in tight.
They’re breaking me again, and in a year
You’ll see no sign that I was ever here.

8 thoughts on “Sonnet: Green field site

  1. Hi Nick
    This is so beautiful, the rhytm, the rhyme and the flow, (=the sonnet form), and the subject, the field that is never given any rest. I think this is your best poem (till now) ever! You do love the countryside and it shows again in this poem.

    I can just see this field, not flat like a polder meadow, but a bit on a hill, trees around it. British! I like those old words oxen and axes.

    Really great!

  2. So sad because so true.

    I despair of our inability to grasp that greed has got us where we are today. And that part of that greed was treating our houses as assets and not homes.
    Why we should believe that building on green-field sites is the answer is beyond me.

    I look round Leeds at the huge amount of space within the city boundaries which could be readily used for social housing which is in desperately short supply and wonder again. That is not to mention the plethora of high-rise luxury flats built by the river which now nobody wants.

    I could go on!!!

    Good poem Nick


  3. We drove through Leeds last month en route to Harrogate: hadn’t been to the city in a long while and noticed how much it had changed – just as you describe. Your point about houses being seen as assets, not homes, is spot on, and I think is one of the root causes of the mess we’re now in. We’ve already got one large greenfield site nearing completion here, with another even bigger one in the planning process now. It’s doubly painful for me because, as a countryman and nature lover, I mourn the loss of the land; and as a cyclist,I know that every house means at least one extra car – and more usually two these days – on the local roads as well. Thanks as always for your comment, my friend.

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