Diary of a Lincolnshire Sheepstealer


this Lincolnshire .. .
…   …   …

Those squashed, brown, glassed marbles
  worth as much as a big taw or a boulder
in playground exchange, much as a
  ten second glance at showy-girl’s nickers
and the old girl is making cow-eyes at me
  she, twenty others or more are passing by
they, are eating grass before fertilising
  in various colours, they all have shiny eyes
This is Lincolnshire, nothing special is it
  the rabbits on the hop, the hares and badgers
in fields, in different shades of umber or sienna
  some pale, some clay, some colour of trout
jump in the fisheries, wake the sleeping man
  one of life’s mysteries from Grimsby to Valhalla
where the River Lym babbles or in Somersby
  you may listen in to thoughts of Tennyson
They say an otter was seen by Stickney dyke
  a place I often trundle on my old push-bike
I have not seen it but heard a scavenger cry
  a family of four buzzard that day I spied
full three mile away over auburn mountains of hay
  farmers build a maginot line across the county
haystacks, a fine artist’s sketch to add to my diary
  think on local art tradition of Charles Haseldine
Across the fens stretched like prairies of Wyoming
  that might with bleaching sun resemble Serengeti’s
springbok, antelope, rhino, in place of fallow and roe
  they wander free within confines of loyal, royal
stately homes and parks, stole by grassy wolds
  prove the lie that spills, no hills are in this shire, yet
dale and briar, moor and marsh, coastal fenland
  columns of birdlife affirm it as an international wetland
If I were a rovers son, a fenslodger with musket primed
  two barrels of lead, a fenland barge hidden in reeds
to bag a catch of godwit, brace of ruff, a plump bittern
  dressed in waders, a calico coat, three cornered hat
I would greet thee of the morn, we set sale on our dykes
  the tides rushing in or rushing out, my partner in crime
hums O God our Help In Ages past, smokes a clay pipe
  til the birds flew – the gargeneye, mallard for the stew

Then the Dutchman arrived with instruments of drainage
  an engineer of craft, a boy to put his finger in the hole
myth and fact until arrival of John Rennie, labour of many
  with pict and shovel they dug rivers, trenches, sluices
drained the fens, slodgers departed, paid for their trouble
  economy of farmland, towns, new people to pay taxes
houses built, where once swamps, new roads and tracks
  Lincoln grew as Boston, Caistor, tulips, sugar-beet n’ tats
Of Stamford, welcome ruling classes, best we can garner
  central hilly parts where dart deer and stoat, carrs the moat
I lay me down to Percy Grainger, Aussie stranger who fell
  for folk traditions, his wisdom to assay a yorkshireman
Frederick Delius, his music, coloured in our market towns
  from Brigg, Gainsborough in the north down to the Deepings

O’ flat lands, your skies of wonder
                                         cannot hold the thunder of their birth
  yet hold such lights that fall hallowed
                                         through to land upon the earth
The sheepmarkets, Viking Way, Scunthorpe town and Brumby
  names with Yorkshire drawl who on their knees crawl west
thus farmers had sway, rich topsoil, not tha’ many wages pay
  except thou were ‘farm servant’, denied wife, much life at all
till military call or news of higher wages surfaced on the borders
  or across the sea to New England or Albertland, New Zealand
a colony of 1,000 departed, excited by the conquest of the free
  we drafted fenland immigrants a’fore any from the Balkan sea
Buttercup sways in the meadow, old Lucy, other mothers bereft
  male herd journeyed to the abattoir alongside sheep, lamb, pigs
when once we travelled to market towns at Alford, Grantham and
  Market Raisen, ‘we’ now feed the likes a Asda, still doft the cap
travell in multi-layered pantechnicon, narrow roads, no passing
  I’ll not bandy words with thee, should thou mardy, laugh at me
this Lincolnshire on the wolds, by coast, marshes of the wash
  I came here bandit on the run, more sheepstealer than a poet
I carry my palliass, cut the colli’s wi’ a borrowed machete
  I watch amazing skies settle on the slough-bog, colours blinding
In the evening mizzling where St Hugh doth splawder into view
  not being of certainty of truth, requiring cash to fix kirks roof
note chimes of St Botolph, the spireless church we ne’er finished
  the spires of this shire are many, settled in their gentle dells
stand agin’ the sutty mumbles of an indigo sky that passes by, we 
  ont’ dark side of tha’ rainbow wi’ rooster crow, black footed jay
I stand atop the banks, watch fishing trawlers line up to return
  the Witham, the Humber along with tankers decked with lumber
from Norway, Scandinavia, immigrants aboard, cheat custom man
  some’s pockets lined with stash, cocaine, I hear the ships horn
I stand atop the banks, white owl advancing, a hare is prancing
  I seen a parliament of owls at Hobhole, Hen Harrier at Scremby
Midsummer Night’s Dream at Casterton, Black Swan at Conningsby
  yet never have I seen a better sky than those of Lincoln’s county




About edenbray

I am a writer ... a beat poet who began writing poetry way back in 1966 ... 'edenbray is born ugly, wet, covered in blood, mucous & bodily functions, the effluence of my short life' ... I recently published my 1st solo Anthology - the best of 60 years writing - previously I ran my own Art Supplies Store for 40 yrs before I became a full-time writer I am a Blogger who has posted 1,000 poems - available in 24 themed booklets ... please ask for details + leave a 'like' or a comment for my encouragement, thank you so much for listening - I truly value your opinion on my work ~ in fact I literally survive on your creative input ~ edenbray
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