Poetry and Pictures from the Yorkshire Dales by Alan Hartley

dales poetry headerPhotograph ©David Tarn

The Meadowlands 

meadowlands.jpgDon Gamble
YDMT From 'Hay Time in the Yorkshire Dales'
Edited by Don Gamble and Tanya St Pierre, 2010
Keep safe the meadowlands; find them in May,
June or July when you may catch
Their fragrant breath on summer breeze, and see
Their fragile blooms wave in the restless green,
The Cowslip, Heartsease, Sorrel and Selfheal,
Speedwell and Meadowsweet, Clover and Vetch.

Keep safe the meadowlands, the ancient ground,
The founding soil of settled ways,
The land our ancestors reclaimed from bog
And bracken scrub for Fescue and wild Brome,
Ryegrass and Meadow Oat, Cocksfoot and Bent,
Vernal and Darnel and soft Yorkshire Fog.

Keep safe the meadowlands, a gift from heaven,
A bounty that is double given.
In summertime enjoy their beauty, free,
And hold that precious memory in store,
That you may gladden dull, cold, winter days
Walking the sunlit meadowlands once more.

Keep safe the meadowlands, the quiet calm;
Treasure their humble flowerings
And guard their innocent, unworldly ways,
For all they ask is rain on a poor soil
And time to set their seed before
The reaper takes his yearly toll.

Keep safe the meadowlands, if they should go,
Our children's children may not ever know
To care about
The loss.

We still have some magnificent hay meadows in Swaledale and Wensleydale and the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust's "Hay Time Project" has given us timely advice on what we need to do to keep them.