I Have Not Ploughed This Year

This is the field my father ploughed,
my grandfather, six generations of my family before.
This is the house we have all lived in,
foundations date back five centuries, other farming dynasties.
This is the meadow my sheep graze,
shelter in the hollow where remains of a hill fort
rise to a flattened ring.

This is where my ancestors grew corn
three thousand years ago, enclosed animals
to protect them from wolves and raiders,
built round houses, dug ditches to protect themselves.
They must have worried then, as I do now,
about weather, failed harvest, debts, threats

Kate MacDonell

Published in Island Voices 2010

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