The Barn

I stopped in the barn's wide entrance,
where the dust and chaff were like bees.
With the light behind me, and my rake across my shoulder,
I knew I resembled the Harvest as often portrayed.

"Bees" is what we used to call
all kinds of insects then,
and bees were in my mind as I crossed
the floor to where he'd fallen.

I'd never known him dead before
and therefore did not see him straightaway
but thought he was a sack,
with a barrow standing nearby ready to move him.

And move him I did,
though first I stood on that earthen floor
for a hundred years, while the language changed around me.
Dust. Chaff. The names of common things.
My hand moving up to touch my tightening cheeks,
to pick the pieces of broken bees from them.


from The Classical Farm (Bloodaxe, 1987), © Peter Didsbury 1987, used by permission of the author and the publisher

Recordings

Peter Didsbury

Peter Didsbury Downloads

1The Experts

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2Back of the House

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3A White Wine for Max Ernst

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4The Autumn

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5Bard

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6The Drainage

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7In Britain

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8Venery

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9A Winter’s Fancy

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10The Classical Farm

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11The Pierhead

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12Cider Story

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13A Shop

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14The Hailstone

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15The Barn

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16Hare’s Run

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17The Restoration

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18The Shore

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19The Old Masters

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20That Old -Time Religion

21At Her Grinding Stone

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22Common Property

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23A Bee

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24Spade

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25Elegiac Alternatives

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26Owl and Miner

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27A Natural History

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28Coasts of Africa

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29The Green Boy

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30Victorian Angels

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31Words at Wharram Percy

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16That Old Time Religion

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Books by Peter Didsbury