The Gleaning Field
There is something
more than nature, here.
Encircled by trees that at once protect
and threaten; trunks writhe toward the human forms
with a lithe, sinister energy.
Women. I notice they are all women.
Stooped to labour in fields of crimson and
burnished gold, under a heavy grey sky,
darkening with dusk. They are wearing
white, and red. The colours of sacrifice,
of victimhood. Of revolution.
In half the field, the corn is still high;
a barrier from the lighted window of
a cottage glimpsed in the gloaming dark.
It is home to someone, comfort, warmth;
but they are separate, discrete. There is a quiet
urgency about their work. As if they know their lives,
these rights will soon be restricted, enclosed.
For information on gleaning rights and legal/social changes to the rural poor: http://www.criminalhistorian.com/gleaning-poor-women-and-the-law/
Louise Longson is an Oxfordshire-based writer, who has been published by One Hand Clapping, Fly on the Wall and Dreich. A qualified psychotherapist, working for a charity serving those distressed by loneliness, she has finally cleared enough of her own head-space and house-space to pursue her writing in earnest. Twitter @LouisePoetical
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