‘Tis Hay Time

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Tis haytime & the red complexioned sun
Was scarcely up ere blackbirds had begun
Along the meadow hedges here & there
To sing loud songs to the sweet smelling air
Where breath of flowers & grass & happy cow
Fling oer ones senses streams of fragrance now
While in some pleasant nook the swain & maid
Lean oer their rakes & loiter in the shade
Or bend a minute oer the bridge & throw
Crumbs in their leisure to the fish below
—Hark at that happy shout—& song between
Tis pleasures birthday in her meadow scene
What joy seems half so rich from pleasure won
As the loud laugh of maidens in the sun.
~John Clare “Hay Making”

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Every hay crew is the same
Though the names change;
Young men flexing their muscles,
A seasoned farmer defying his age
Tossing four bales high,
Determined girls bucking up on the wagon,
Young children rolling bales closer,
Add a school teacher, pastor,
Professor, lawyer and doctor
Getting sweaty and dusty
United in being farmers
If only for an evening.

Stacking
Basket weave
Interlocking
Cut side up
Steadying the load
Riding over hills
Through valleys
In slow motion
Eagles over head
Searching the bare fields
Evening alpen glow
Of snowbound
Eastern peaks

Friends and neighbors
Walking the dotted pastures,
Piling on the wagons,
Driving the truck,
Riding the top of hay stack
In the evening breeze,
Filling empty barn space to the rafters,
Making gallons of lemonade in the kitchen.
A hearty meal consumed
In celebration
Of summer baled, stored, preserved
For another year.

Hay crew
Remembered on
Frosty autumn mornings before dawn
When bales are broken for feed
And fragrant summer spills forth.
In the dead of winter

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4 thoughts on “‘Tis Hay Time

  1. This city girl is exhausted just reading about all that work.
    My happy contribution would be in the kitchen making a huge pot of Irish stew, two 10-inch
    cast iron pans of homemade cornbread (no store-bought boxed corn meal either – get it steel ground right from Virginia). For dessert, two half-sheets of my grandma’s recipe for gingerbread (with bourbon-flavored whipped cream and lemon sauce on the side.)

    Like

  2. Beautiful pictures and words flowing through time of traditions creating such unity for family and friends. Never to be forgotten as all that worked together will cherish the days they helped fill the barn with hay. There is something special about coming together to complete a huge job. Many hands make light work as my dear mother-in-law used to say.

    Like

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