The Ballad Of Foxham Bill
I knew a man down Wiltshire way,
We called him Foxham Bill.
He’d sit astride his tractor
And swagger up Spirthill.
Up top he’d stop and look around,
A broad smile on his face,
Below the farm he knew so well
His life bound to that place.
Before he set to work each day
He’d ponder on his fold;
With pride he’d think about his wife,
His three girls good as gold.
On his descent he’d fill the lanes,
Surveying his estate.
We’d strain our necks and back our cars,
Give way to Bill’s old crate.
It stayed that way for years I guess,
His routine would hardly falter,
But then daughter June a sailor met
Who brought her to the altar.
Next Mary flew around the world,
Back-packing I’d heard say,
Got fixed up with an Aussie lass
When cruising down Sydney way.
Now down to one, his pride and joy
(She’d never tasted town),
Bill had a boy in mind for her
With him she’d settle down.
But Julie, bless her, took the veil
And married her school mate.
They took a plane one Saturday
And now live in Kuwait.
Wife Betty would not leave the roost,
Of that he could be certain,
With thirty years under the yoke
She’d make their final curtain.
But ringing in the church one day
Elizabeth met Sam-
Within three weeks of knowing him
She’d left for Chippenham.
Now every day he climbed that hill
His swagger was no more,
His smile had gone, he wore a frown,
His tractor lost it’s roar.
As bad luck went, his was the worst,
Alone now on his farm,
He worked away the lonely days
And tried not to self-harm.
One day a Jaguar pulled up,
A stranger knocked his door.
He said his farm and land was sold-
His tenancy no more.
So Foxham Bill, a farmer spent,
Took all his compensation
And bought a house in Bremhill Wick,
Investment ‘gainst inflation.
His Massey Ferguson he kept
A’rusting on his drive,
And every day took all he had
To try and stay alive.
The NHS it did it’s best,
They would not taste defeat,
With CBT and counselling
They’d have Bill on his feet.
But then one morn I took my rod
And set out for the river,
It wasn’t a chill that caught my breath
Or a wind that made me shiver.
For in the midst of Avon’s flow,
It’s front wheels spinning free,
Was that tired old red tractor
And Bill hanging from a tree.
So dear reader, I’d say to you
(Be you rich or poor)
The only constant thing is change
Of that you can be sure.
© (no references, veiled or otherwise, to any person living or dead )
A very British poem, probably not good to plan things too much, lest those who watch may surprise you with changes! :- )