On Leaving School

He grew strong on the farm.
Was handy shovelling on the right side
or the left.
‘Worth a bonus, that,’ old Fred said,
as they emptied the pigsty,
‘if we were navies.’

Best of all he liked tractor work,
sitting in the cab with a fag
and the radio.

His world was the turning of turf,
a shiny plough-share slicing a neat row
from hedge to ditch.

Years disappeared that way.

8 thoughts on “On Leaving School

  1. Great Cath. As you know, I’m a sucker for a rural scene and you evoke this one simply but beautifully.
    I like the idea of his being equally strong on both sides and his old colleague remarking on it.
    There is a lovely sense of time passing through the repetition of actions, habits and favourite radio programmes. A metaphor for most lives perhaps, which tend to slip by unheeded until we reach a certain age and are moved to ask, ‘Where did the time go?’ If we’re lucky, we can look back with contentment and minimal regrets. Hopefully that will be the case for your strong, serene tractor driver.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is lovely cathum, very evocative and much more lyrical and descriptive than the words of an old farmer neighbour when talking about his ploughboy days,…’thoo needed ter be strong int’back and weak in t’head’ thank you for sharing and keep them coming.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Cath, your poem made me cry and I think I know why. That young guy falls painfully shy
    of realising his potential. When Peter Cook died that was a frequent cry, but then Stephen Fry
    dared to claim we were wrong.  Unfilled potential only hurts us. We, who survive, are denied the joy of him being alive. He lived, loved, laughed and cried and then he died.  Now he is just some more Cosmic dust. He doesn’t care he didn’t share his untold stories. He doesn’t care, yet his influence is every where.

    Like Rooboard, I hope your young man is able to look back in contentment and ignore other people’s possible disappointment in him and his apparent lack of ambition. (Shows yours is a good poem – I flipping well care about the chap!)

    Liked by 1 person

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