Cut Cornfield

Stop at the gap as you pass, and size up the field.
Its shape is not a figure in geometry.
To follow its containing bank — bushes and trees
atop the others’ work of raised-up earth and stones —
would be a half-hour walk. At this time yesterday
it held its yield of barley, grey with readiness.
The combines lit and cut the crop all night, droning
and ceasing at the edge of earshot in our dreams.
The bailers crossed the same ground all today, and now
the evening sees me counting up the rounded bails,
tight in their plastic, spaced and settled where they dropped.
Beyond a hundred, I lose sight and count of them
in distance and the shallow water of the sun.
The men have gone to spend their Saturday; machines
to cool and click in yards. The local moment lasts
until I break it, and drive on. The others stay,
unhurried, on eternal holiday, to watch
the failing sunlight and the rounding of the moon.

Listen to this poem — read by Peter Hetherington