Wednesday 12 December 2018

These Streets were Fields

She remembers when these streets were fields
stretching as far as her eyes could see
down to the beach.

Now she hangs her washing on a sad patch of grass
where once she lay in meadow flowers,
watching birds fly past.

She watches her sons play football on a concrete road
laid on the fields where her brothers played ball
when they were young.

She knows that bulldozers have now returned
to dig up the small field behind the school
and make another street.

But if she half closes her eyes and sits without moving
she can still hear the birds and grasshoppers
alive in the ghostly fields.

originally posted for the now defunct Poetry Thursday back in 2006 and reposted because it's still all too relevant today as ever more fields disappear under buildings 

I also today reposted an old poem on my Shapeshifting Green blog, which you can read here.


richard pierce said...

Ghostly fields - that's good. I like the whole feel of the poem, because it's not totally without hope. BB

Dennis said...

Yup. You’ve definitely captured it. The melancholy of things, how they were, and the sadness change brings. Beautiful.

Anonymous said...

The changes of the world, paved on block at a time. But there are still wild places to be found, just take the street all the way til the end.

Anonymous said...

Love the last stanza, expecially. Reminds me of some song lyrics "they paved paradise to put up a parking lot"

Natalie said...

There is such an air of sadness about this poem. But how true that in her imagination she can go back there whenever she wants. Sometimes i think that our imaginations are more real than what we perceive as reality.

January said...

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Unknown said...

This is great. I love the opening. I remember when the streets were fields too - how I pine and miss them.

Anonymous said...

Very evocative.
Makes me think of how the area where I live now was originally farm land, then was owned by a stable over on the main cross street.

rel said...

nice recall of a bucolic landscape giving way to urbanization.
I enjoyed reading this.

Catherine said...

I hope there will always be fields, somewhere. A lovely last stanza

Unknown said...

A poem about loss but not the usual kind. Very meaningful.

Deb said...

I really like your poem, and on every level. Perhaps at first for the topic--it's one that is near and dear--but of course, it is well crafted and compelling. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

such power in your words; heartfelt and filled with rich imagery!

write on,

twilightspider said...

Gorgeous and poignant and exactly the way my heart aches every time I drive past new housing developments in my home town. Thank you for expressing what I feel so vividly.

Clockworkchris said...

this is a beautiful poem and very moving. I especially liked "ghostly fields"

Rethabile said...

Hauntingly efficient. It was inevitable that the prompt lead us to our childhood memories, real or invented. I like the way you dealt with that.

Jon said...

You've really conjured up something that we all feel from time to time. I like the way that your narrator, perhaps without knowing it, reveals the way that the "ghostly fields" are always accessible in the only form that they ever have truly existed for her, in memory. The fields would have meant little to her unless she connected memory to them, but the very moment that those memories were made the fields ceased to be they once were. Instead, they existed in her memory, just as they still do. Very nice compression of a very complex aspect of life.

I enjoyed too the use of diminishing line lengths in each stanza--which seem to parallel the narrator's feelings that the world is growing smaller.

Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful poem.

mareymercy said...

This is nice; I can relate. Urban sprawl is rampant where I live. (which means I'm a part of it - oops.)

Crafty Green Poet said...

Thanks for your comments everyone!

Brian - thankfully I know the streets to walk along to get to the wild places that are still there!

R's misings - I like that song too, but hadn't had it in mind when I wrote this!

Jon - many thanks for your glowing critique!

Gwil W said...

I see it often. Tops of mountains gone to make roads. Autobahns where there used to be only rural roads. Small villages with 4 or 5 supermarkets. Millions of trucks and trailers crossing Europe daily. You don't know what's in those trucks till they crash and the pigs go squealing across the road.

Lowcarb team member said...

I enjoyed reading your poem.
I agree it is still too relevant today as ever more fields disappear under buildings.

All the best Jan

sage said...

I still like the poem, but one of the things I appreciate about Scotland is that you don’t have the urban sprawl (or as much of it) as we do in the US

Crafty Green Poet said...

Gwil - it's happening all the time, everywhere

Jan - thanks

Sage - - yes, we have less urban sprawl, but Edinburgh is expected to grow hugely in the near future and many of our fields are earmarked for development