September 13, 2017

I  love the thrill of market,
the noises and the smell.
The people and the cattle,
the sound of the calling bell.


Old George would always be there,
in greasy ancient cap.
With trousers and crossed braces
and legs set at a gap.


Taking in the glory
of  cattle at their peak,
or waiting for the day
when folk come to sell their sheep.


Leaning on his stick
with a twinkle in his eye,
checking all the livestock
but he doesn't come to buy.


This has been his journey,
farming all his life.
Growing old and lonely
after he lost his wife.


This has been his lifeline,
it's full of his old friends.
He notes down all the prices,
he follows all the trends.


And no one walks right past him
without a friendly chat,
a moan about the weather
tales of this and that.

He buys a bacon butty
and his favourite steaming brew,
and settles by the ringside
where he gets a better view.


He chats with all the drivers
the stockmen and the hands,
the farmers and the youngsters
who now work on the land.


He's been part of this old market
since he was just a boy,
he's loved by everybody
and it fills his heart with joy.


And when George hangs up his jacket
and leaves behind this life,
we hope he'll be reunited
with Molly his dear wife.


And the market will fall silent,
they'll remember their old friend,
a gentleman and a farmer
right to the very end.
Jan Millward©


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©Jan Millward, 2018

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