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.
Late one evening, we were heading North and we came upon this little neglected wood at the side of the very quiet road we were travelling on. In all the darkness around us, this wood suddenly shone out.
IN A DARK WOOD
I saw the light of heaven today In a dark wood that ran alongside An old road leading nowhere. It was around that hour When the last flare of sun has gone, So that only darkness was expected. Darkness, frost and a few delicate, Bitter drifts of snow Butting up against the lost leaves.
Yet, rounding the corner, That golden light took me by surprise, For it set the whole wood shining. Turning the dot-dash-dazzle Of snowdrops and the yellow celandine Into a quilted splendor. The tall candles of frosty trees Lighting all the little pathways.
This is the amazing thing, This pure loveliness is all for us, A winter gift of love. But the grace of love has always been To bring light to a darkness That would otherwise engulf us.
That conversation had its ups and downs. Words like axes Cutting at the very root of joy. Hacking whole orchards of dreams Into oblivion. Throw those words out of the window, Let the sun cleanse them, The wind blow them away.
This conversation is fairly bowling along, Words like flowers Growing whole meadows of dreams. No dream excluded. Put those words in your eyes, Let them warm all who read them, The gentle wind blow them into love.
The Old Mill at the bend, Where, every now and then, The Mill pond is called back By the water pouring itself Into a great flood, Covering the old road, Filling the sunken garden, Drowning the lanes In witch soaked water, So that no-one can come or go. No-one disturb the ghosts Of all the women drowned As witches.
We don’t want them Floating on top of the water. Their dying eyes remembering, Their mouths wide open with curses To fall on those murdering men.
Witch hunters Want those words laid upon them swept away. Want the drenching fear of the dark spells lifted. The women drowned all over again.
They should be so lucky.
The one with hair red as sunset, White boned with wispy fingers, Red heart bright with living fire, Who has waited out the centuries To claim her righteous vengeance, Will take back every last curl Torn from her dying head by jealous women, Working hand in hand with murderous men.
Take heed, then. Killers take care. Remember the wronged dead, Still lying amongst the dark weeds, Still floating and drifting Down and along the old Mill pond.
They do not forget But wait by the Mill at the bend. Their dead tongues clacking, Their heavy shadows bending life and death To their implacable will.