Deborah from The Broad Bean in Ludlow, wrote this poem about us a few years ago and has turned out to be the most popular of her poems. Not every day you get a poem written about you!
Cropping Winter Salad, Deerfold
A fold of land hard by Lime brook where
hunted things have crowded
together (seeking shelter) for ever, trees
shadow their ash against the frost.
The heart shaped faces of deer stare
out of wimples of darkness,
and a traveller approaching might be forgiven
for thinking someone moved there.
Pulling the bitter leaves of a winter salad
in the little hours of nones,
hardy valdor, and purslanes, both the green
and gold, the mud of nuns encrusts my nails.
A wind flows up the valley, a fang of cold air
from off the ancient glacier,
making a mockery of fingerless mittens,
a crabbed claw and muddied skin reaching.
The field leans away, a refectory table
all wood knots and grain marked,
accentuated by low light, a shared attitude
allowing black cloth to stir in a window.
“If any ignorant person ask you of what order you are”
who would there be to ask?
This hazel hundred hasn’t changed for a thousand
years, “as you tell me some do,”
Life here is earned the same way it’s always been.
In their flapping habits of austerity,
they are as husks against the brown wood,
grey stone of the afternoon.
Their isolation harrows me, so that I reach
for the smooth talisman of my phone.
“ who strain at the gnat and swallow the fly”
I’ll answer, it’s the order of St James”,
“for his great holiness called God’s brother”
I hear the rasping of their kneeled
responses, no louder than a mouse scratch
against the wainscot of my inner ear.