Poem of the week Hurdle-Maker

OLD George was a hurdle-maker,

His Dad and Grandad too

And not being a risk taker,

‘Twas the natural thing to do.

He worked in peace and solitude,

In a sylvan wooded glade.

The birdsong for his interlude,

The hazel for his trade.

His coppice cycle, eight years or so,

With ‘poles’ cut from their ‘stools’,

While here and there, great oaks on grow,

‘mid woodland streams and pools.

Splitting poles, (the art of cleaving)

With billhook expertise;

Then through the ‘uprights’, interweaving

And rammed down with his knees.

No wood is cut, when sap’s on rise,

Because it wouldn’t last

And so it comes as no surprise,

Stocks grew ere winter passed.

Coppicing in strict rotation,

To keep trees’ health and vigour

And working well in each location,

He and his poles, grew bigger!

Don Filliston.