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The Gleaning


Once a year we flood these fields

with a sisterhood of shadows,

mothers and daughters, sons in drag

stooped and fumbling, hands busy as crows

until each corner is picked clean.

If we could, we’d even sieve the sunlight

from the sky. Whatever remains

after the parson has taken his tithe

we claim as our own, every wisp of wheat

plucked like a diamond from the rough.

This is our humble allowance of hope.

Between the ringing of two bells

a second harvest is slowly gathered in:

today’s guinea-golden acreage

stripped right down to the dusk.

Siegfried Baber was born in Devon in 1989. His debut pamphlet When Love Came To The Cartoon Kid was published by Telltale Press, with its title poem nominated for the 2015 Forward Prize. In 2020, he published London Road West, an ebook of poems and photographs. A new collection, The Twice-Turned Earth, is forthcoming.

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