Peasant’s revolt

23 June 2010 § 1 Comment

One of the many amazing vernacular buildings at the Weald & Downland Museum is a 14th Century cottage, painstakingly reconstructed based on evidence from a medieval dig at Hangleton, near Brighton. Exceedingly basic, it makes you realise just how many of the things we believe (or are led to believe) we can’t live without our ancestors – well, lived without. We’ve gone soft in seven centuries, a nation of designer peasants, for whom ‘country living’ has become a lifestyle fantasy.

DREAM HOUSE?

Simply built, but strong
To ward off a hostile world:
Thick reed thatch
Wattle-and-daub walls
And an open hearth
In a floor of beaten earth.

Few comforts in those dark days
When a horse was worth more
Than the man who drove him:
And when the mills and factories came
The workfolk rushed to flee the land,
Their poverty and shame.

Yet to live their way –
Tend my own flocks
Kill my own meat
Reap my own grain
And cook them over a fire
Made from my own wood

Pass my days under the sun
And withdraw at night
To a corner of the world
Free of others’ noise and light –
Is a dream reserved for millionaires –
Not simple folk like me.

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§ One Response to Peasant’s revolt

  • slpmartin says:

    I am fortunate that I live a good distance from the city proper (and not wealthy but lucky)..it has the feel of not being confined by city lights and sounds…but an even simplier life would be just fine with me….again I’ve enjoyed your words.

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