Under pressure

11 March 2011 § 4 Comments

Under pressure

The big John Deere
Is working late;
After so long waiting
For a reborn sun and drying wind
To strip winter from the soil
They’re staying out,
Getting on.
The ten-foot, two-tonne roller
Treads thick, green scents
From the tender grass;
Driving in frost-lifted stones,
Making pancakes out of molehills,
As it wraps broad silver bandages
Round the bruised and pummelled pasture.
But these bent blades will be re-forged,
Stronger, and in greater numbers,
Ready for the tearing mouths
And hooves of summer cattle.
The roller passes on –
No time to lose –
And the soft earth breathes again:
When pressed, we do not break;
Though crushed, we do not die.


I promised my good friend and fellow poet John Stevens another tractor poem; I had something different in mind, but this one came along first, during a ride on the Paramount yesterday as afternoon gave way to evening. Apologies for the pic; a long-range phone-camera effort, I’m afraid.

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§ 4 Responses to Under pressure

  • belfastdavid says:


    Your last two lines caused me to pause and think and then read the poem again with new eyes.

    So many metaphors for our own lives to be found should we only care to look.

    I reflect on those time when I have felt as if I have been rollered flat and yet…………

  • gonecycling says:

    Hi David – precisely the response I was hoping for, so thank you very much! Like my previous post, this started out as one poem and ended up as something entirely different; I love the feeling of poems writing themselves, and new angles and thoughts emerging as they go along. And like you, I’ve felt myself to be under the roller many times, but somehow we’re still here, writing and fighting on, which is what counts! Thanks as always for your support, my friend.

  • slpmartin says:

    I had the same response as David…I was reading along and then hit the last two lines that sent me back to the poem for another reading.

  • gonecycling says:

    Thank you for your comment, Charles – the structure of the poem mirrors the experience, I guess. I was riding along, saw this little scene, smelled the crushed grass and that, as far as I was concerned, was the whole poem. It was only when I came to write it later on that the metaphors really struck me, and suddenly I was aware that I’d seen much more than just a tractor rolling a field. It took a second look at the images in my mind – and some rewriting – to understand what. I’m so glad you liked it; I’m very happy with it, I must say.

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