Bales in the Lowlands
Today they come,
like many other things, these bales
round, oblong, plastic casings all unfamiliar too,
with the movement of time as the past is lost.
When I was young,
they were just small, string tied,
scattered like giant wheetabix blocks
across a close cropped field.
Yet now, like Grenadier Guards,
they are stacked as neat
as they could possibly be,
potent in the blazing sun.
The haystacks back then,
fifty years ago, were tall.
So tall that children would feel like climbing,
building forts and giggling as they hid.
One warm year, when adults eyes were turned,
a tunnel found, stretching from one side to another,
held a curiosity like none before…..
old rags and something shiney lay half way along…
One by one each kiddie crawled
like little beasties,
gasping and scurrying as fast as hands
and scratched up knees could speed.
A chubby girl held back,
holding breath, scared….
Bloodied dead rat, massive knife to kill
and rags – old rags maybe of the vagabond…..
The girl – bigger than the rest,
knew the stack could fall,
crushing, smothering – pressing her, them, all,
into the rags, decaying rat and murderer’s rust clad dagger.
The space squeezed inwards.
Her ribs strangled her breath,
the heat cooked her mind and choked her voice until,
sweating like woman in labour,
she tumbled out into the day, shocked…..
alive not dead like the silenced rat.
That day, she grew up….. just a little