Adam Horovitz writes Song of the Un-Tilled Field
In 2016, poet Adam Horovitz took on the challenge of being Poet in Residence for the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association, and stayed on four of its members’ farms throughout four seasons.
From his experiences he wrote 53 poems that explored the highs and lows of livestock farming, from birth to death, from an open-minded outsider’s perspective, working his way as honestly and forthrightly as possible. They were published as a collection in ‘The Soil Never Sleeps’, which takes its title from one of the book’s closing poems.
Since then, Adam has done numerous readings, at festivals and on members’ farms – receiving positive feedback from all audiences. He has sold nearly as many copies of the collection in seven months as his first collection of poems ‘Turning’ has sold in seven years.
At this year’s Groundswell event, on a golden, sunny summers’ evening, Adam gave another excellent performance of his work.
Inspired by the upright, half buried plough at the entrance to the conference site, reflecting on the ‘No-Till’ theme of the event, Adam wrote another poem.
Here it is:
Song of the Un-Tilled Field – written after Groundswell 2018
The plough rests and rusts
so that soil can sing again
under a veil of cover crops.
Earth gathers out of dusts,
bonds into a chorus, born of rain.
Into sticky clots. Each seed drops
deep into harmonic zones
of growth and change, among roots
and worms and uncut fungal layers.
Left long enough, the soil builds bones
from the social life of plants, recruits
insects, carbon – all the microscopic players
that are the countless funds and trusts
of un-tilled fields – into a muscular, teeming chain;
a subtle songline that stirs crops
to action as the plough rests and rusts.
The song of soil made whole again.
A cycle that, nurtured, never stops.
“I have been delighted with how well the poems have been received, and I will gladly continue to perform them wherever anybody wants me to!”
“The Groundswell poem sprang from seeing the buried plough, with a little ‘Rest in Peace’ sign below it, which sent a strong visual image of what ‘No-Till’ farming is really about, and what it can do to help heal the soil, and from listening to the farmers speak at the conference.”
‘The Soil Never Sleeps’ is illustrated with original line drawings by artist Jo Sanders. It is available to buy from publishers Palewell Press UK online at Palewell Press or from booksellers priced £9.99.
For future readings, contact Adam via email.