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The hay-barn could tell many a story;
resplendent with spider-webs, bedecked
with shrivelled remnants of dried
and tattered wings; twisted corpses
of insects, long-since dead, ensnared
in tangled, tensile threads... crumpled
magazines – newsprint, ochre, crisp –
curled with age, stacked on some
long-redundant mattress, springs exposed,
horsehair and wadding chewed into scraps
by marauding field-mice and rats.


Rickety stacks of rusted paint-cans;
Victorian Red, set solid as cement,
stashed on worm-riddled boxes
that once stored the Coxes and rosy
James Grieves from an orchard,
since many years – gone to seed.
The smell of times-past – the ghost
of children’s laughter, hung up to dry
from gnarled and twisted rafters, where
swallows dive through a hole in the roof,
lashed by a wild, December storm...


their cone-shaped nest, safely cradled
by ancient oak beams, ready-lined
for next year’s brood. Cruel irony then,
come the spring, all of this will be gone,
and in the field where once it stood...
where bearded barley grew, so tall,
a ‘cash-crop’ will have been sown...
‘affordable’ houses, in neat little rows.
Laid to dust, the barn, with its Norfolk
thatch roof, the swallows called ‘home’.