The Sailor-Boy

Tis three years and a quarter since I left my own fireside
To go aboard a ship through love, and plough the ocean wide.
I crossed my native fields, where the scarlet poppies grew,
And the groundlark left his nest like a neighbour which I knew.

The pigeons from the dove cote cooed over the old lane,
The crow flocks from the oakwood went flopping oer the grain;
Like lots of dear old neighbours whom I shall see no more
They greeted me that morning I left the English shore.

The sun was just a-rising above the heath of furze,
And the shadows grow to giants; that bright ball never stirs:
There the shepherds lay with their dogs by their side,
And they started up and barked as my shadow they espied.

A maid of early morning twirled her mop upon the moor;
I wished her my farewell before she closed the door.
My friends I left behind me for other places new,
Crows and pigeons all were strangers as oer my head they flew.

Trees and bushes were all strangers, the hedges and the lanes,
The steeples and the houses and broad untrodden plains.
I passed the pretty milkmaid with her red and rosy face;
I knew not where I met her, I was strange to the place.

At last I saw the ocean, a pleasing sight to me:
I stood upon the shore of a mighty glorious sea.
The waves in easy motion went rolling on their way,
English colours were a-flying where the British squadron lay.

I left my honest parents, the church clock and the village;
I left the lads and lasses, the labour and the tillage;
To plough the briny ocean, which soon became my joy--
I sat and sang among the shrouds, a lonely sailor-boy.
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The Poet's Death

[Another of Carry's wonderful works]

The world is taking little heed
And plods from day to day:
The vulgar flourish like a weed,
The learned pass away.

We miss him on the summer path
The lonely summer day,
Where mowers cut the pleasant swath
And maidens make the hay.

The vulgar take but little heed;
The garden wants his care;
There lies the book he used to read,
There stands the empty chair.

The boat laid up, the voyage oer,
And passed the stormy wave,
The world is going as before,
The poet in his grave.
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(Carry Akroyd's 'Wet Meadow')

Grasshoppers go in many a thumming spring
And now to stalks of tasseled sow-grass cling,
That shakes and swees awhile, but still keeps straight;
While arching oxeye doubles with his weight.
Next on the cat-tail-grass with farther bound
He springs, that bends until they touch the ground.
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The Yellowhammer

When shall I see the white thorn leaves agen
And yellowhammers gath'ring the dry bents
By the dyke side on stilly moor or fen
Feathered wi love and natures good intents
Rude is the nest this Architect invents
Rural the place wi cart ruts by dyke side
Dead grass, horse hair and downy headed bents
Tied to dead thistles she doth well provide
Close to a hill o' ants where cowslips bloom
And shed o'er meadows far their sweet perfume
In early Spring when winds blow chilly cold
The yellowhammer trailing grass will come
To fix a place and choose an early home
With yellow breast and head of solid gold.

(Still away from home at present... normal service will be resumed after next weekend. I think I speak for many when I say we did enjoy the 25th Anniversary Festival at Helpston last weekend... another wonderful, and thought provoking address from Ronnie Blythe and old and new friendships renewed).


The Skylark

The rolls and harrows lie at rest beside
The battered road; and spreading far and wide
Above the russet clods, the corn is seen
Sprouting its spiry points of tender green,
Where squats the hare, to terrors wide awake,
Like some brown clod the harrows failed to break.
Opening their golden caskets to the sun,
The buttercups make schoolboys eager run,
To see who shall be first to pluck the prize -
Up from their hurry, see, the skylark flies,
And o'er her half-formed nest, with happy wings
Winnows the air, till in the cloud she sings,
Then hangs a dust-spot in the sunny skies,
And drops, and drops, till in her nest she lies,
Which they unheeded passed - not dreaming then
That birds which flew so high would drop agen
To nests upon the ground, which anything
May come at to destroy. Had they the wing
Like such a bird, themselves would be too proud,
And build on nothing but a passing cloud!
As free from danger as the heavens are free
From pain and toil, there would they build and be,
And sail about the world to scenes unheard
Of and unseen - Oh, were they but a bird!
So think they, while they listen to its song,
And smile and fancy and so pass along;
While its low nest, moist with the dews of morn,
Lies safely, with the leveret, in the corn.

The Peasant Poet

He loved the brook's soft sound,
The swallow swimming by;
He loved the daisy-covered ground,
The cloud-bedappled sky.
To him the dismal storm appeared
The very voice of God,
And when the evening rack was reared
Stood Moses with his rod;
And everything his eyes surveyed,
The insects i' the brake -
Were creatures God Almighty made;
He loved them for His sake.
A silent man in life's affairs,
A thinker from a Boy,
A peasant in his daily cares -
A Poet in his joy.
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