It's a high wall that beats the bounds of Barkin Lots.
It's footings, cams and throughs
Are lichen scarred and green with moss,
It's seen the generations through;
Looks back to shippons, caps and clogs
To horses heavy shod,
And men too old, and lads too young
To dig the poppied sod.
A shield to harsh Siberian winds
It checks the path of fox and mole,
Bracken and thistles, outcrop rock,
It shelters the lamb and the stoat.
Traced by the outstretched arm of the farm,
It closes in the fell.
Built by lengthsmen paid by the yard,
Or in bed and board,
For the stones they gleaned from glaciers' spoils
As they walled their way back home.
Coventry foundries forged harrows and ploughs
With holes in their seats to let the rain through.
That turned the peat for tatty planting,
The fresh cut bracken for cattle bedding.
With mould-board, tines and nipples for greasing
And a cushion of hessian sacking.
Jane Merritt lives on an upland farm in South Cumbria where she keeps a small flock of sheep and hosts a monthly writing group ‘Write on the Farm’. She studied Agriculture at College and discovered the joys of poetry through a Continuing Education Creative Writing Course, Lancaster University. She writes from her experience of country life. Her work has been published in the North, Issue 48.