Who owns the field? by Jane Clarke

Is it the one who is named in the deeds
whose hands never touched the clay
or is it the one who gathers the sheaves

takes a scythe to the thistles, plants the beech,
digs out the dockweed, lays the live hazel?
Is it the one who is named in the deeds

or the one who pulls ragwort on his knees,
lifts rocks into a cart, splits larch for stakes,
the one who gathers the sheaves,

slashhooks the briars, scatters the seed,
cuts his hand on barbed wire, hangs the gate?
Is it the one who is named in the deeds

or the one who could surely lead
to where children made a hiding place
in an old lime tree. He gathers the sheaves.

Is it the one who tends cattle and sheep,
and can tell you how the field got its name?
Is it the one who is named in the deeds
or the one who gathers the sheaves?

Jane Clarke

By kind permission of Bloodaxe Books.

From The River, a Bogmans Cannon Recommendation

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