From the hot road
I watched combines make wide-wale corduroy
Of gasping fields cast in bronze and gold;
Racing balers trailing fine brown dust
Build their fleeting henges and tight-rolled scrolls of straw;
Felt the fat, satisfied summer –
The goodness and greenness of the place –
Wrap itself around me.
I come from here. That can never change.
Its deep rhythms are my heartbeat;
By its moods and seasons, I measure out my own small days.
In these dark times I cannot look upon it as I did:
Forces far beyond these gentle hills conflate
A love of one place with a hatred of The Other.
But this country is deep-grained in my hands, clings fast to my boots:
I am bound to it, and it to me
Until I too am gathered in, and finally ploughed under.
Events of the last three years have changed the way I look at the UK. But on a long, hot ride yesterday, I came to realise that it’s not my local tract of countryside that’s changed: it remains as lovely as it ever was, and I still feel very deeply about it. That, I guess, is one of the worst aspects of what our politicians are doing: their nationalism taints any innocent expression of love for the place one lives in. Just one more item on the lengthening list of things I’m not sure how we fix, or forgive. N.
3 thoughts on “Harvest”
I share these sentiments Nick, and I’ve enjoyed reading these lines : there’s an easy, natural rhythm in them, and unhurried pace, and some very satisfying imagery – the wide wale corduroy, the short lived henges, and so on.
Thank you, John, as ever: your comments always mean a great deal. In my writing at the moment, I feel I’m constantly being pulled between wanting to confront what’s going on and wishing I could just forget all about it. I suppose, on reflection, this piece attempts to reconcile that tension, too, although it wasn’t consciously intended to! Isn’t it great when your own work can catch you out that way? N.
So much of the world has changed…your feelings I believed are shared in a number of nations.