The Leasing of The Top Paddock
There was always the kitchen garden.
but there was more than that;
Father leased the paddock,
that later we learned was never
in the full, small farm title. I remember
the farmer, from whom he supposedly,
purchased it, a man whose greater acres
and investments put him in good position.
He was kindly, never showed resentment
at the few extra shillings my father
managed to earn.
Not leasing the land he fairly owned,
Father ploughed it, and set his children
to planting and weeding and harvesting.
He rotated his crops and sold them
to small local outlets.
One year we picked and bagged peas,
the next potatoes, and then
there were onions. For many years
Father kept those georgic furrows tilled.
When he’d begun it was for cows
and the milking; the rich cream
collected for the butter factory.
And the side products, little piglets
who slobbered the full troughs of fresh
raw milk and the toss-outs. Whose
organic hocks were, by Father, made
into home-smoked bacon when later
slaughtered. It was all georgic,
all organic. Guinea pigs, as pets
came to the milking sheds, squeaking
and irritating the herd. They, sad little
creatures, died out in their own directions.
They just slowly disappeared.
There was a kitchen garden.
There was a leased paddock,
There were crops.
Now there’s a big storage shed
and yards. The small holding
merged back to the kindly farmer’s
descendants; their huge acres given
over to wheat. We complain
at genetic engineering. I think
the kindly farmer might also
have had concerns. That never
happened when Father leased
out his paddock. It was all georgic.
It was organic back then.
Benita H. Kape © 22.4.2017
Last but not least, here is our prompt for the day (optional, as always). In honor of Earth Day, I’d like to challenge you to write a georgic. The original georgic poem was written by Virgil, and while it was ostensibly a practical and instructional guide regarding agricultural concerns, it also offers political commentary on the use of land in the wake of war. The georgic was revived by British poets in the eighteenth century, when the use of land was changing both due to the increased use of enlightenment farming techniques and due to political realignments such as the union of England, Scotland, and Wales.
Your Georgic could be a simple set of instructions on how to grow or care for something, but it could also incorporate larger themes as to how land should be used (or not used), or for what purposes.