The Calvert Hill Farm

I am no poet, but I stumbled across this one written back in 2019 for a very special Landscape Partnership Project in the North Pennines and northern Yorkshire Dales National Park, and I thought someone out there might enjoy it.


Inspired by visits to Teesdale and Swaledale

© Vee Walker 2019

This is the farm the Calverts made,

A nameless Calvert with Pick and Spade,

Lost his Bull to the Scots in a Border Raid,

Who builds the Walls, and digs out the Moor,

Who Gets By in Summer but often is Poor.

Who shapes a Cow’us from Stones and a Door.

Who tends his Sheep and herds his Cows

And feeds them in Winter on Ash-tree boughs

This is the farm the Calverts made.

This is the farm the Calverts made,

A later Calvert one day is bade

By his Fine Lordship, ‘go, tunnel for Lead’.

At the Mine Shop they lie three men to a Bed

With a young Lad of nine across their wet Feet.

And dream of their sweet Fields while asleep,

Of a farm that a Woman alone must now keep.

Paid twice a year by His Lordship haughty,

This young Calvert won’t see Forty.

This is the farm the Calverts made.

This is the farm the Calverts made,

Once more a Wife must tend it alone,

For Army Recruiters have hearts of stone,

The Mine’s long closed, but her Man’s still gone

To march in damp boots across the Somme,

And it’s anyone’s Guess whether her man Jack

Will return to the Farm with his Rifle and Pack

Or how he’ll be Changed, when (and if) he gets Back.

This is the farm the Calverts made.


This is the farm the Calverts are making,

With climate change, no small undertaking:

Where a Calvert has named each Field and Stone,

Where the Seasons stir deep within the Bone,

And the Land takes root in Flesh and in Blood,

Through plague and pestilence, drought and flood.

May not be worth much in pounds and in pence,

But to value it all pays in common good sense:

Home to the Calverts since times untold,

Home to the Youngsters and home to the Old,

Home to the Lapwing, home to the Lark,

Home to the Barn Owls which fly in the dark;

Home to the Gentian’s little blue Eye,

Colour of Saintliness, colour of Sky,

All of them Seeding

And Breeding

And Feeding

All hefted to place just like any old ewe,

For no other corner of land will do:


In spite of it all, still a risk worth taking

Here on the farm of the Calverts’ making.


Author: veewalkerwrites

Hello new readers. If you enjoy my blog why not try my prizewinning novel of WWI, Major Tom's War? It's available as a revised and expanded second edition in paperback and on Kindle. You can order it via my lovely publisher Kashi House at or from any good bookseller. Ask me nicely and I can send you a signed/dedicated copy for just £12 including UK postage and packing 🙏🌹

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