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The Country

by Timothy Hayes


The curling oaks stand silent at the corner of a field.
Harvesters now do the work of men,
Cost less for the grain they yield.
Here by the Avon a long time ago,
With scythes and with sickles men used to go
Cutting the corn, stooping down low,
Lifting the stalks, their backs long bent.
Cheese, bread and beer, made their hearts glow,
With the sun on their backs, homewards they went;
Dog-tired, hungry, yet strangely content.

The curling oaks their long watch keep,
Now over motor cars up to six deep,
The wild life starts or tries to sleep.
We listen to music to blot out the sight
Of macadam and metal droning on towards the night
Tower blocks' depressing rear
Their white and grey windows tier upon tier.
This mechanised mayhem has deprived men of space,
For harvest thanksgiving and work-sharing grace.