Will work for food

A day of rest? Not for this silage crew.
Hard-pressed, the forage harvester devours
The thick green swaths; the spinning steel blades chew
A month’s growth into half-inch lengths. For hours
The tractors have been hauling high-heaped loads
Then racing back with empties, raising dust
And thunder from rough headlands hard as roads.
To lay the winter’s feed in is the trust
Placed in them. In the next field, unconcerned
With hurrying machines, the engines’ roar,
The man-hours and the diesel being burned,
The cows plod in to give their milk once more.
An ancient pact, whose terms both sides accept.
A Sabbath broken. But a bargain kept.

Jubilee day

A day replete with pomp and circumstance
And I am out here, sitting on a stile
To watch the silage-makers grab their chance
To beat the rain and take this cut dry. While
The gilded ones glide down the Thames, this crew
Are flat out: that big harvester can fill
The trailers so fast, it’s all they can do
To keep ‘em coming; in their speed and skill
They almost match the martins, skimming low
Across the windrows. This, then, is my land
Of hope and glory: in that regal show
I see no sight, nor hear no sound so grand.
When passing pride and pageantry are gone,
The seasons’ timeless work will still go on.

 

Think I may have just blown my chance of being made Poet Laureate…N.