You’ve arrived! In reality this is ‘The Field of All Fields’, bordered by others which are lovely but don’t quite match it. I’m biased of course. I’ve always been home in fields. As a child I used to lie for hours pressed flat into the earth in the far reaches of my primary school playing field.
And the equine thread is as inseparable from them as the smell of manure, although - as you’ll hear - the Fields only holds memories of horses at the moment.
The tracks below are all downloadable versions. To receive all the tracks in one podcast - from the New Year - you’ll need to become an ‘imbiber’ - link here. I mail when a new space opens with a private link.
P.S. I’m leaving you in the Fields for while in order to complete a project which has ‘tum-ti-tummed’ into my life. But this is the best place to leave you, because here you’ meet Hurricane (pictured) – the greatest non-human love of my life.
‘Hurricane’s Field’ is sometime home for sheep, a hare, muntjac and occasionally roe deer. Neighbouring fields grow hay and are graced by lambs and their mothers in the Spring. The view of the Field of All Fields brings the elements into my living room, never ceasing to shift the colours of my day. Enjoy!
1. Unsaddled by Philip
This is a story poem about a poem. Philip Larkin unsaddled me from my present field and rewound me to being a ten-year old in a sea-bordered meadow with about twenty horses, nestled up each day at dawn through the summer holidays to one in particular, a gentle chestnut ex-Russian racehorse called Octava.
2. A Three-Year Hurricane and trio of poems
Fast forward nearly half a century and I am spending every spare moment I can with my nearest neighbour, a magnificent but lonely chestnut called Hurricane. The short story is that I was invited to befriend him and in a wonderful working out, he joined a herd of his own four-leggeds led by a group of horse-whisperers from Kazakhstan. The first poem tells the story written days after he left, the second reflects briefly on that painful mix of feelings which often accompanies loss. The final poem thundered into being after the herd he became part of returned in the middle of the night for a week’s break as they toured the UK a year after he left.
3. On a Sheep’s Bottom
It’s not only horses who live in the fields. I’m privileged to have a wide view with huge ancient oaks in the distance which are homes to at least one pair of kites. The first of this pair of poems highlights our only too human tendency to put ourselves first, and the second demonstrates how nature – if we let it – will eventually insist it gets under our skin.
What do Anthropopo and Empopo mean? Visit this bit of the Bird Garden.
4. Sheep in Goat’s Clothing
The story speaks for itself. For a moment I thought a goat had infiltrated the flock. And for the gardeners among you, the honeysuckle survived!
5. Black Sheep Benefits
Let’s turn the phrase black sheep on its head! I love the way the magpie deemed it should be his favourite port of call and all the white sheep were made to wait to be ‘groomed’!
6. Doe a Deer
On rare occasions when I’m up with the dawn and there’s little wind, the fields are host to deer: muntjac and roe. And it’s the roe deer which are the most fleeting and remind me of childhood picnics in Richmond Park and… my mother.
My mother is a deer, as you’ll discover when the Mothers’ Room opens or know already if she’s your friend. This poem is about a Muntjac doe who returned two days after writing the poem with a tiny fawn in tow.