I remember a farm where grasses grew
wild flowers scattered over their jewels
enriching the meadows where cattle grazed
and every August with horses we made hay.
The land was productive and the cattle thrived
and gentle the rain that watered the soil:
the summers were long and the children swam
in the waves lapping beaches of silvered sand,
for the cattle provided pure milk by the gallon
that was milked every morning and collected
in churns, it tasted so sweet fresh from the udder.
The grasses provided sweet hay for both horse cattle.
I remember the haymaking, pitching grass on the fork;
the haycocks rising their mounds on the fields
to dry in the long days of summer’s sure sun,
but that was before the farms turned to spreading
chemicals promising ever increasing production
the flowers vanished together with the bees and
the meadows no longer held cattle and horses,
for the cattle are housed in great lines of production
and their milk is pumped into vats for pasteurisation.
Its delivered in plastic that needs recycling or lands
in the sea we once swam in so freely but now is awash
with fish that are dying and fishermen’s catches grow
ever smaller as the boats that caught mackerel no longer
tie-up at the jetty we walked to on Sundays, to buy mackerel
for dinner – they’re gone with the summer and the pure spring
water we drank by the bucket from the clear mountain stream.
© 2017, Carolyn O’Connell