We were out in the middle of nowhere when I saw this derelict piece
of farm machinery. We were surrounded by fields and fields with the
odd spinney breaking up the green and brown like an exclamation mark. I’m hopelessly in love with these northern landscapes and
when, from a distance, I saw what I thought was a man in a field,
it seemed to me how fortunate he was to be out in that pure sunshine,
in that glorious land. If you’re going to be abandoned, there was no better place.
THE IRON MAN
I saw an iron man on the way north. He was digging in a field of red earth, The earth so red It matched his rusty bones. As we drew closer, I saw with my own eyes It was not an iron man, of course, But some old farm machinery Abandoned in a hedge, Left to rot in the hard, cold hand of winter.
That iron man will never dig the red earth out. Never throw a spadeful over his shoulder. Yet men of iron and we, of blood and bone, Have one thing in common. We all need someone to help us. They to have their rusty bones made bright again. We to have our rusty hearts made new, To shine again.
The iron man will have to wait until times change, Until someone shows up who loves old farm machinery. But our help has already shown up, For hope will change us And love will shine up the world.
When I was 12 years old, I decided I would walk to the end of a rainbow, find the gold and we could all live happily ever after. Several hours later, almost too tired to take another step, the rainbow as far away as ever and fading fast, I headed back home. I found something on that expedition, though, as I’ve never forgotten it.
Possibly, All life exists At the end of a rainbow. Gold, Fairies, Witches on broomsticks, A Knight in shining armour.
I don’t really think so. The last time I looked, There was only a crumble of dirt, A grain of corn, A rain beetle struggling through the leaf mould.
Every year on Armistice Day, the 11th day of November, at the eleventh hour, we remember all those who have died or been hurt in war. We remember, too, all those who have been caught up in violence, who have trembled with pain, wept with sorrow and grieved for the pain and loss of those they love. The poppy is the symbol of remembrance.
Lately, poppies are in the fields, Beaming amongst the yellow corn, Smiling in the tall tangle Of wayward grasses and nubs of moody ragwort In the hedgerows. Careless, it seems, of the close threat Of the dark, the bitter nettle, Crowding their calm loveliness.
When rain comes, the nettle rejoices As those lovely heads are beaten into the dust. For a while, all seems lost, Until they rise again. Their scarlet pennants trembling In the powerful forces ranged against them. Trembling, yet standing firm.
Frail and beautiful, their petals A flick of red on the painted air. Beautiful and frail, as are all who stand guard Against the nettled strength waiting its chance To crush that which is fragile.
Yet the nettle has always misjudged the poppy, Seeing only its frailty, Blind to its endurance. And this world is full of poppies Shining their bright and lovely defiance Into every place where darkness seeks dominion, Their crimson glory forever seeding the earth with hope.
Blue stars in the garden, Touched by the slender light of an icy moon Trying to contain the storm Throwing itself into a tantrum, Breaking all it touched. Spitefully turning the ruffled cornflowers Into tiny blue rags Pressed against earth’s vast darkness.
Howlin’ Wolf roared his blue despair Into the emptiness he knew lay waiting Behind the beauty of his own rich singing. Set on making a cool and glorious stream of melody To challenge and defeat that darkness. Make it jump for joy.
The Bluesman adding his song To the precise and perfect loveliness Of Lawrence telling of his own blue Bavarian gentian In the frosty month of September, Its blue light leading him only into darkness, Into emptiness, Where Persephone was called back for ever And Lawrence called for love.
Yet the Bluesman never stopped singing, Filling that emptiness with the soul of man. Bringing light to the darkness. And Lawrence kept his pen firmly in his fingers, Adding his song of blue gentians Flowering in the month of September To the eternal battle of hope over despair.