UKArchive ID: 36374A Different Field to Plough by stormwolf
Originally published on March 28, 2016 in Poetry        

For my old farming neighbours, the salt of the earth.

 photo 640px-Sunset_tractor_silhouette.jpg

The tractor is silent today.
Yes, the beasts will still need to be fed
and they will, they will.
But Old Sandy is lying upstairs
in the farmhouse bedroom.

Immune now to the poor yields
the harsh seasons, the stillborn calves.
He has a new horizon
which forgoes sun and rain.

We sit in the kitchen, overrun with kittens,
The lunch on the stove, fire in the grate,
speaks of normality of sorts.

Young Sandy recounts his father’s last hours.
There are no tears, not in public anyway.
Stoic as the brown earth
embracing cycles, birth and death,
such things are as natural as breathing
to them.

Farm chores go on...

But when the darkness comes,
barn doors finally closed,
mud-caked boots discarded
and the empty chair sits....

That’s when the dam breaks,
for those who work the land.

~ © Alison Stormwolf ~

© stormwolf (stormwolf on OLD UKA)
UKArchive ID: 36374
Archived comments for A Different Field to Plough
franciman on 28-03-2016
A Different Field to Plough
Loved it before and love it now. I wondered if this would be one you would select. I was hoping so. Sunset Song - eat your heart out - this is that good.
Must nominate,
Jim x

Author's Reply:
Wow! Thanks for the nomination, Jim.
I hoped I captured them well and the situation. If we had not posted this week we would be down to an all time low ;-(((
Alison x

Weefatfella on 29-03-2016
A Different Field to Plough
Aye Alison, it's in the observation of the mundane that true beauty lies.
Here you have proven that. The kittens in the shape of busy new life were a master- stroke

Author's Reply:
Thanks so much for reading WFF I always like when you drop in.
Alison x

pdemitchell on 29-03-2016
A Different Field to Plough
Goood observation and the kittens, we all love the fluffy little Facebook-hogging devils. Life and death in rural communities was ever thus, pragmatic and as measured as the passing of the seasons. Mitch

Author's Reply:
Sandy's farm had so many feral cats and they were always having kittens. The place was awash with them. I loved it and my neighbours. I love farming people.
Alison x

sweetwater on 30-03-2016
A Different Field to Plough
Loved it, it has so much down to earth realism, sadness but never maudlin, life as usual all around with sturdy dependability, but never to be quite the same again. Your last six lines really show the true depth of their loss. Sue.

Author's Reply:
I could only imagine what it was like for him. Somebody once said that farmers do not get upset about lost livestock but it's not true. If Sandy had a still born calf he was visibly upset. God alone knows how he coped with the empty chair.
Every time I went over, Old Sandy was sitting by the fire.
They lived together as Young Sandy never married. It really was sad. Thanks for reading and commenting,
Alison x