This poem, out of date now, is about the foot and mouth outbreak in March 2001. and is a reminder of the vulnerability of agriculture.



Hardened men,

grim as granite

hide behind their faces

as fires are stoked

with carcase after twisted carcase.

Smoke, held low by mourning miist,

blots out the winter sun,

silently stealing through chilled valleys

and lonely farms.

Layers of pale ash, falling as snow,

shrouds fields and hedges

and empty lifeless barns.

And over all the smell

the stinking smell

of burning blood and flesh

on choking pyres.


Throughout all this,

and when this work is done,

strong men stand silent in their grief

for none must cry,

though some may hang their heads

                                                                 and quietly die.




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Dorothy Webb

Mon 4th Mar 2019 08:07

Thank you Mae

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Mae Foreman

Mon 4th Mar 2019 08:04

Beautiful! 🎈Truly!

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Dorothy Webb

Mon 4th Mar 2019 07:59

Thank so much to every one who has read and commented on this poem.

Comments, such as these, are so very welcome and are very encouraging

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Phil Kay

Mon 4th Mar 2019 00:45

Excellent Dorothy. Really captures the pain that a lot went through. No punches pulled, lovely.

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John Marks

Fri 1st Mar 2019 21:12

Catches the voice and catches the heart. Well-penned Dorothy.


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Martin Elder

Fri 1st Mar 2019 19:16

Another beautifully painted scene of rural life in all of its splendour and the very rawness of that kind of living with few punches pulled.
I will look forward to reading more of your work

Nice one

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Kate G

Fri 1st Mar 2019 13:28

This is wrenching - a sad tale beautifully told.

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John McDonough

Fri 1st Mar 2019 11:11

Not out of date, floods in Queensland have left cattle farmers herds decimated. The same grim faced men face the same dilemma that was visited on British farmers two decades ago. A great poem Dorothy.

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Don Matthews

Thu 28th Feb 2019 22:12

Well done


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Thu 28th Feb 2019 21:35

This poem makes us really sit up and take note Dorothy. It gets right to the heart of the problem with feeling and compassion.
A very worthy piece of work.


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Wolfgar Miere

Thu 28th Feb 2019 20:44

The suicide rate among farmers during the 1993 to 96 BSE outbreak in the UK rose dramatically. Many farmers lost their whole herds and their businesses went under.

Your poem well illustrates the fragility of our agriculture and how we are dependent on it in so many ways.

Earlier still I remember as a boy in Scotland the fishing fleet being shattered by changing economies, entire communities were wiped out.

Excellent poem Dorothy conveyed with a sense of community.


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Jason Bayliss

Thu 28th Feb 2019 20:32

One of my favourites so far Dorothy. Absolutely brilliant, poignant and describes so well it feels like I was there. I just love this.😀

J. x

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