Poetry Challenge - Living Scarecrow

Preston, England
December 5, 2016 2:28pm CST
This poem combines the five word challenge set by Jessica @Jessicalynnt a few months back – not the current one which I still need to start, - and Sir George Clausen’s grim painting from 1896 of a bird-scarer, a boy hired to act as a human scarecrow in terrible weather conditions. Many boys were killed by hypothermia doing this work and the painting helped draw attention to their dreadful plight. You can see the painting here. The original painting is in The Harris Centre art gallery in Preston. The five words given by Jessica for this challenge were spider, ghost, scarecrow, snake, cat Poem – Living Scarecrow You might have dressed as a scarecrow For Halloween or a Wizard Of Oz show But what you probably don’t know Is that 19th century farm boys were forced to guard a farm By dressing as human crows protecting the crops from avian harm. It might sound fun, but on nights when the weather was far from calm The boys could often freeze by the little fire allowed They had a wooden bell they could ring but they were not to make other loud Noises, including screams if afraid of snakes, spiders or that cloud That could bring the sleet and lightning The boys felt the terrible tightening Of their nerves at the thought of every frightening Shadow that could be wolf, poacher or even a ghost As their minds unleashed the whole terrible host Of Hell, as the wind-chill swept in mercilessly from the coast You get to stay at home, stroking the cat Choosing between video game, football and cricket bat These boys were cast out to work without protective boots or hat Until protesters yelled never again Will children do such work in the Winter rain Straw scarecrows now guard the wheat and barley plains. Arthur Chappell
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7 people like this
5 responses
@Plethos (10315)
• United States
5 Dec 16
sweet poem. scarecrowing has come a long way, i see. in the agricultrual fields out here, they sporadically stake sticks/wood dowels into the ground with a piece of tinsel string on the end. the idea is that the constant movement and reflection will scare away most birds. i think it works for a while , because i always see birds on the lines above studying the action. and we all know how smart crows are.
2 people like this
@Jessicalynnt (47872)
• Centralia, Missouri
7 Dec 16
wow, odd direction even from you, who often goes an odd direction. I loved it!
1 person likes this
@Kandae11 (37040)
5 Dec 16
Very good.
1 person likes this
@Happy2BeMe (74743)
• Canada
5 Dec 16
Great poem.
1 person likes this
@KristenH (24085)
• Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
5 Dec 16
Great poem. Terrible to hear about this cold time in history. How cruel!
1 person likes this