Wednesday, 7 March 2012
The Asses Back
The dusk slid easily down, like the britchen
And the hames from the asses back.
My father gave a nuzzle to the weary mare
And slapped her flanks, got a nuzzle back.
Sacks of new spuds, golden wonders,
Traces of lime, streaky chalk,
Stored in the back house, dark and cool,
Newly risen from their mother, withered stalk.
A handful of oats, a draw from the well,
Locked loose in the garden, watered and fed,
Mother had the table cloth out for tea
Smell of linseed, fresh butter, brown bread.
And father reliving the feats of the field
Post mortem slice of a fresh killed pig,
He told the mother how we worked as a team
That next year I would have to dig.
And the old man dug all the drills again
And I filled the hempen sacks,
mother was told of our Trojan work
And the humps upon our backs.
The ass nibbled the shoots of green
And never once complained
Every day of toil was the same to her
Like the garb of the newly ordained.
Herself gave us a slice of currant cake
A dessert of sorts, I suppose,
And the mare fell asleep in the garden
With the dew settling on her nose.
I recall that day of the first of the crop
How my Dad and me were the men
Providing for the hungry horde,
I still think of the ass now and then.