Wednesday 16 March 2011

Wheelbarrow Farm by Hillary Menos

I was delighted to win a copy of this beautifully produced poetry pamphlet from Templar Poetry who were giving books away for World Book Day on 3 March.

The poems are all set in the 100 acre organic farm which Menos manages and owns. They are vivid evocations of farm life, detailing the issues and difficulties faced by farm workers - including bad weather; injured animals; thistle-filled fields and calf tagging:

The calf you want is always in the far field
with that bullish look in its eye, all beef and brawn
and its mother is always in the near field
with that protective look in her eye, and horns.

calf tagging is considered an extreme sport,
much like ram dagging, and not to be undertaken
without protective work-wear, an ambulance on call

from Belting the Galloways

For those who don't know, Belted Galloways are a Scottish breed of cow. You can read more about them on the Belted Galloway Cattle Society webpage.

These poems take the reader right into the heart of the hard work needed to run a farm. It makes you really appreciate the work behind the food on your plate! (Or not on your plate in this case if you're a vegetarian or vegan).

Wheelbarrow Farm by Hilary Menos, published by Templar Poetry was one of 4 winners of the Templar Poetry Pamphlet Prize in 2010.

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other pages, where you can find out more.


The Weaver of Grass said...

I just adore Belted Galloways Juliet - they are becoming more and more popular around here because they are hardy enough to stay out all winter on rough ground.

Anonymous said...

I recently brought this post to the attention of a guy involved in agriculture...his comments were "this was written by someone who knows about livestock - and is oh so frighteningly true!" :-D

RG said...

We have some belted cows here too. But I believe they are called Dutch Belts.

Anonymous said...

I've never lived on a farm or had any close encounters with livestock, but the poetry is very evocative of the farmer's life.

Double kudos to those who cannot only live it but also write about it at the same time.

Sandy's witterings said...

I just leave my experience of calf tagging to what I read in these line - I'm very warey of cattle of all description and avoid getting into the same field as them if I possibly can.
Not surprisingly we've a lot of Belted Galloways down our way. But if you keep your eyes open they are a fairly common cow up and down the country these days.