The fields now claim them where a motley crew
Of old and young their daily tasks pursue
The barleys beard is grey and wheat is brown
And wakens toil betimes to leave the town
The reapers leave their beds before the sun
And gleaners follow in the toils begun
To pick the littered ear the reaper leaves
And glean in open fields among the sheaves
The ruddy child nursed in the lap of care
In toils rude strife to do his little share
Beside his mother poddles oer the land
Sun burnt and stooping with a weary hand
Picking his tiney glean of corn or wheat
While crackling stubbles wound his little feet
Full glad he often is to sit awhile
Upon a smooth green baulk to ease his toil
And feign would spend an idle hour to play
With insects strangers to the moiling day
Creeping about each rush and grassy stem
And often wishes he was one of them
In weariness of heart that he might lye
Hid in the grass from the days burning eye
That raises tender blisters on his skin
Thro holes or openings that have lost a pin
Free from the crackling stubs to toil and glean
And smiles to think how happy he had been
Whilst his expecting mother stops to tye
Her handful up and waiting his supply
Misses the idle younker from her side
And shouts of rods and morts of threats beside
Pointing to the grey willows while she tells
His fears shall fetch one if he still rebells

(Lines 15 to 46)
The Shepherd's Calendar with Village Stories and Other Poems (1927)

1 comment:

Charles said...

Lovely realistic word pictures. Clare really was an artist.