I really am very proud to have two poems in Agenda’s special T S Eliot issue this month. Thank you Patricia McCarthy for including them!
‘In Yellowhammer Weather’ was written at The Hurst, near Clun, a couple of years ago while on a week’s walking and writing retreat led by David Morley. We explored Clun’s tiny, idiosyncratic museum, in which I found an (early 20th century?) photograph of local farmer Frank Collins ‘on his favourite horse, Polliwig’. Walking later along the banks of the Clun river, and hearing the chatter of the yellowhammer in a hedge, the rhythms of the poem began to come together in my head.
‘How We Rode After Haytiming’ is a memory from my childhood in Cumbria, when I rode with the next door farmer’s grandchildren on a raggle-taggle of grass-fed ponies. After the hay had been cut in June, six acres of inviting stubble lured us down to race the ponies across Long Field. The poem was first written several years ago, and then it hung around because I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it.