I walked beside the cowman across grass
Sodden by the morning dew. "What do you
Want to do when you leave school?" He asked me.
"Want to be a cowman like you," I said.
He stared at me sideways on."No, my lad,
You want to get yourself a proper job."
He said no more and disappeared inside
His farm cottage tied to the farm estate.
I walked on puzzled by his blunt reply.
I was, as he knew, a London boy, fresh
From the smoke and crowded streets, not used to
The way of the countryside and manners.
In my bedroom, in a glass case, I kept
Bird's eggs, chalk fossils, and a rabbit's skull
Salvaged from the woodland floor on the Downs.
Hanging from the ceiling by bits of string
A model Spitfire moved in the wind.
And taped to the walls were pictures of tanks
Or racing cars with all the parts numbered,
And a chalk model of a Crusader
With sword and shield with red cross of St George.
From my window I could see the whole farm
Where I'd been to fetch the milk before school.
Maybe I'd not work on the farm at all.
Autobiographical poem. I loved the farm and worked there after school and at weekends for free. But we moved away and I worked as my first job in a garage in 1963.