Ammon Wrigley - "The Ruined Farmstead"

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

The Ruined Farmstead

Out on the hill in the mist and rain,
Where the grass grows rank in field and lane,
There in its cold and forsaken lands,
Lonely and silent the old farm stands.
In wrack and ruin, its oak beams bare,
And the lime lies thick on floor and stair;
The windows are gone, the door lies prone
And rotting beneath the tumbled stone.
And hanging against the barn wall black
A tattered coat and an old meal sack,
And a rusty scythe, once bright and clean,
And broken spades in the corner lean.
The shippon door with its horseshoes on,
And “boose” and “sooal” and hayloft gone,
The window frame is still stuffed with straw
That stopped the draught when the wind was raw.
Once that old farm knew sunshine and glee,
When childred played by the old ash tree,
And kept a shop all the long summer’s day,
And sold sand pies and their cakes of clay.
At dusk when they heard their mother call,
They hid behind the old meadow wall,
And when prayers at her knee were said
With little rag dolls they went to bed.
Where is the father who delved the croft
In the warm spring days when winds were soft,
And smoked by the gate on summer eves
In his apron grey and white shirt sleeves?
No more up the mooredge fields he'll climb
To gather his cows at milking time,
And ne’er again on a housing day
He will fill the barn with well got hay.
Where is the mother in neat print gown
On baking days with her oatcakes brown?
Who churned the butter and brewed the beer
And whitened the hearth and scrubbed the speer;
Who read the Bible by candle light
To her children on a Sunday night;
Her pattened feet on the sand strewn floor
And her old love songs are heard no more.
Their days sped on as the speed for all
From life’s glad ways to a hearse and pall;
And their’s the way that we all must go
From those we love and the homes we know.
One by one from the farm they were borne
To the graveyard on the hill forlorn,
Where the ghostly mist trails from the moor,
And rain winds grieve at the old church door.

Ammon Wrigley - "The Ruined Farmstead"


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

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