Poetry Corner My Father was a Farmer

On this day in 1837 US blacksmith John Deere created the first steel plough in Grand Detour, Illinois. Deere a name farmers all around the world know well; with many of them using machinery bearing his name to this day.

For me….well any excuse for a little o’ the Bard.

Rabbie Burns

My Father Was A Farmer

MY father was a farmer upon the Carrick border, O,
And carefully he bred me in decency and order, O;
He bade me act a manly part, though I had ne’er a farthing, O;
For without an honest manly heart, no man was worth regarding, O.

Then out into the world my course I did determine, O;
Tho’ to be rich was not my wish, yet to be great was charming, O;
My talents they were not the worst, nor yet my education, O:
Resolv’d was I at least to try to mend my situation, O.

In many a way, and vain essay, I courted Fortune’s favour, O;
Some cause unseen still stept between, to frustrate each endeavour, O;
Sometimes by foes I was o’erpower’d, sometimes by friends forsaken, O;
And when my hope was at the top, I still was worst mistaken, O.

Then sore harass’d and tir’d at last, with Fortune’s vain delusion, O,
I dropt my schemes, like idle dreams, and came to this conclusion, O;
The past was bad, and the future hid, its good or ill untried, O;
But the present hour was in my pow’r, and so I would enjoy it, O.

No help, nor hope, nor view had I, nor person to befriend me, O;
So I must toil, and sweat, and moil, and labour to sustain me, O;
To plough and sow, to reap and mow, my father bred me early, O;
For one, he said, to labour bred, was a match for Fortune fairly, O.

Thus all obscure, unknown, and poor, thro’ life I’m doom’d to wander, O,
Till down my weary bones I lay in everlasting slumber, O:
No view nor care, but shun whate’er might breed me pain or sorrow, O;
I live to-day as well’s I may, regardless of to-morrow, O.

But cheerful still, I am as well as a monarch in his palace, O,
Tho’ Fortune’s frown still hunts me down, with all her wonted malice, O:
I make indeed my daily bread, but ne’er can make it farther, O:
But as daily bread is all I need, I do not much regard her, O.

When sometimes by my labour, I earn a little money, O,
Some unforeseen misfortune comes gen’rally upon me, O;
Mischance, mistake, or by neglect, or my goodnatur’d folly, O:
But come what will, I’ve sworn it still, I’ll ne’er be melancholy, O.

All you who follow wealth and power with unremitting ardour, O,
The more in this you look for bliss, you leave your view the farther, O:
Had you the wealth Potosi boasts, or nations to adore you, O,
A cheerful honest-hearted clown I will prefer before you, O.

By Robert Burns

1 reply »

  1. Our NHS workers form the Front-line against the corona virus – no doubt about it.
    But there are other Front-line workers of different kinds out there, including our farmers.

    Folk might have noticed, in the recent bits of fine weather, that they are out there, in their tractors – muck spreading ( the scent of an Orkney Spring!), ploughing, preparing.
    Then they will sow, and the grain will grow, and provide food for us all.

    This reminds me of some years ago, when walking Ben-The–Dog on the fields near where we lived in Suffolk, I came across a woman walking her dogs, right across a field with a crop growing in it. What’s more, it was the crop of someone I knew, and I knew how much work had gone into that field!
    So, I stuck my oar in, and asked did she realise that she was walking on a crop. She apologised, hadn’t meant to, and asked how was she to tell the difference as it “all looks like grass”. I said, that the clue is when it’s in rows – she had a look at the field, saw the neat rows of ‘grass’, and said she’d watch out, from now on.

    Come November, we might be allowed to have Harvest Homes, at which we’ll be more grateful than ever, for what has been produced, and to the people who have helped nature to produce it.

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