Disturbed Rooks cawing,
Settle once more in twisted branches
on a hedge-bound Oak

The church tower, a gaunt finger
pointing accusingly to
the lowering Fen skies

The apse, open to the rain
with windows stained by age
Recalls the passing of
men and seagulls
Who followed the plough

Remembers the villagers
Once so many – That their singing
Warmed the very stones
and celebrated many a Sunday
as the Parson preached
the way to live one’s life

The centrepiece of life then
but of a village no longer

Abandoned, along with the land
as the call of the factory,
the dreams of fortune,
drew the young men away
to new hard labours

Denuded of festival
as the harvest was mechanised
Horse for tractor exchanged

So now forgotten
amidst long untended graves
only those called to the anti-Christ
hold tryst here now

The church stands
A reminder of lost community
A lost way of life

Haywain in Shammer, Norfolk, 1935
Haywain in Shammer, Norfolk, 1935 – photo by Richard Mark Johnson

Martin Addison 02/11/2012