Cicely Fox Smith

(1 February 1882 – 8 April 1954 / Lymm, Cheshire)

The Five Ricks - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Five ricks in a row
Stand in my father's field, I know,
Five ricks beside the hedge
That marks the long field's topmost edge . . .
There they stand; from there you see
Coppice, cottage, field and tree,
The shining vane on the church steeple,
And houses full of decent people
I've known since I was a little chap,
Good folks that sometimes say, mayhap,
'I wonder, now, what young Jim's doin'
Out there in all that noise and ruin' . . .

Five ricks in a row
Stand in my father's field, I know,
And over them there's a blue sky
Where small white clouds go floating high,
Like shell-bursts round a battle-plane . . .
But night'll come and the light'll wane,
Bats'll flit, and not a sound
Be heard in the fields around,
But a hunting owl, and a little breeze
That makes a rustling in the trees,
And by the ricks and round about
The lean grey rats slip in and out,
Here and there on every hand,
Like snipers out in No Man's Land.

If times was what times used to be,
What sport there for old Vic and me!
The same old girl, the same old dear,
That's been my pal now many a year,
Since first I bought her, one Spring fair,
A six week's pup from a gipsy there . . .
But now she's growing old and grey
At home, and I am far away,
And there ain't no games for her, I reckon,
Though the night seems just about to beckon
For little dogs to hunt their fill
Of rats and such-like things to kill;
And so Vic shakes herself, and sighs, turns three
Times round and down she lies,
And stretches out before the blaze
Her old rheumatic bones, and lays
Between her paws her grizzled head
And torn ears, waiting for my tread.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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