Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal


Christine Ann Clatworthy

The hay-barn was home to so many things –
resplendent with spider-webs,
bedecked with shrivelled remnants of dried
and tattered wings, the twisted corpses
of insects, long since dead,
ensnared in tangled, tensile threads
piles of crumpled newspapers,
ochre, crisp, curled with age,
stacked on some long-redundant mattress,
springs exposed, horse-hair and wadding
chewed into scraps
by marauding field-mice and rats.
Rickety stacks of half-empty paint-cans,
stashed on wormy, wooden boxes
that once stored the Coxes
from an orchard long-gone.
The smell of times-past and the ghost
of children's laughter, hang from musty rafters
where the swallows still dive
through a gash in the roof,
lashed by some wild, winter storm
to find their old nest, as yet safely cradled
by the ancient, oak-beams
newly lined for this year’s brood.
Such a cruel irony,
that in a few short months
the barn will be laid to dust
and in the field on which it stood,
where long-eared barley grew so tall,
next year’s crop will be sewn ...
of red-bricked, terraced houses
with their terracotta, tiled rooves
all in regimented rows.
But the hay-barn, topped with thatch
and its mud-crafted cone
where the young swallows hatched,
will be gone.


Christine Ann Clatworthy lives and works from a small bungalow in the heart of the English countryside. Her life-long love of poetry is driven by her passion for her environment, her family, a black and white cat called Chess and the whole of this crazy, wondrous thing we call ‘life’.

© Christine Ann Clatworthy

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012