Nottinghamshire Sheet XXIX N.W.
OS Edition of 1920
is nothing now; no brushwood,
ash or elm, no marker boundary
to the mor, no bolthole cover
for the son, his father famed
for everything he lacked, no
bracken beds for village girls
too slow to run, no heathered haze
to gravel pit, no quick cut on to
Cockett Barn, no pheasant flush
or rabbit tracelines through the
mud. Nothing left now, none of it.
is not the same now; no dairy for the lord,
the kiarr long gone down to the holt, no
byres rousting pigs to troughs higgled with
turnips, no parlour maids smirking secrets
through the cream, pressing tokens into
curds wheyed down for love, no farmhands
clagged with clay dragging their Sunday best
home. Not the same now, in any way.
is nowhere now; no farm of dust
and stones to ire the tithemen used
to fecund work, no bricks or slates
or tiles that propped the granary wall
against the turnip house, no sickly cows
whose milk ran thin and drenched the
empty calf box, no horses lathered with
the toil of dredging hard small gains.
Nowhere but here now, this hostile soil.
is nobody’s tryst now; no rector eking
acres to sweat a shilling, no fishing rights
for enclaved few, no ribald gossip at the
pump, no carpe diem at the open view,
no ginnel out to Stoney Field, no windbreak
there to choke the gusts that barrel through.
Nobody trysts now, or knows how to.
By Di Slaney
Di has a degree in English and European Literature from the University of Warwick, an MA in Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University and has co-owned Candlestick Press since 2010. Her poems have been widely anthologised and published as well as being shortlisted for the Plough Prize and the Bridport Prize, and commended in the McLellan Prize. Two of her poems won joint first prize in the 2014 Brittle Star Poetry Competition, and her poem ‘Nottinghamshire Sheet XXIX N.W. OS Edition of 1920‘ has recently won the 2015 Four Corners International Poetry Competition. Di’s forthcoming collection ‘Reward for Winter’ (an extract here) will be out with Valley Press early in 2016.
Di Slaney lives with her husband in a Grade II Listed, 400 year old farmhouse in Nottinghamshire with more animals than is sensible – 150 at the last count, most of them rescued. She runs an Egg Club to raise funds for British Hen Welfare Trust and sells speciality yarn from her small flock of wethers under the name Hooligan Yarns.
She also runs Nottingham marketing agency Diversity which employs 70 people.