Ammon Wrigley - "In the Country"

The following is a transcription of a work by Saddleworth poet Ammon Wrigley (1861-1946).

In the Country

O for a bye-road up the dale,
Where ruts are green and gapstangs down;
When eggs are warm in throstle trees,
And last year’s haigs are dead and brown.
When cuckoos call the stripling spring
And thrifty folk their money turn,
When cattle first go out to grass,
And butter yellow in the churn.
O, for the fling of windy moors,
Of drumming snipe and calling grouse,
And bare hillsides with stone-fenced fields,
And here and there an old farm house.
Where hare lands smell of hunting days
And scarlet coats and questing packs,
And old lane ends still keep the scent
Of farmer folk with “provven” sacks.
O, for an old low-gabled inn,
Out on the lonely Yorkshire hills,
Where moormen come in tallowed shoon,
Smoke their pipes and quaff their gills.
From where high sheep walls break the wind,
And gusty cloughs to wellheads climb,
They tell how fared the bleating ewes
In withered fields at lambing time.
O, for warm red-sanded hearth,
When twilight dims the window panes,
And brooding farms grow dark and still
Beside the empty hillside lanes.
A rough plank bench as white as snow,
A drowsy chair of nut-brown oak,
The homely smell of burning peat,
The burring speech of shepherd folk.
O, for an old love ballad sung
By red-faced cowman from the farm,
His waistcoat loose, his deep chest bare,
His sleeve rolled up his brawny arm.
A song they sing in haytime barns,
Of freckled farm lass with her cows,
And neighbour lad in ploughing smock,
Who linked her o’er the grassy knowes.
O, for the road, the inn, the song,
The kindly folk, the simple fare,
The bakestone bread, the “crimbly” cheese,
The hunger caught from moorland air.
How swiftly burns life’s restless flame,
Like candles swealing in the wind,
Let’s tramp together o’er the hills,
And know a good day’s peace of mind.

Ammon Wrigley - "In the Country"

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Poetry
This page was last modified on 12 August 2018 and has been edited by Dave Pattern.

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