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Walling poetry

PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 5:35 pm
by jerryg
being a bit of a strange bod I quite like poetry and such and was wondering if anyone knew of any good poems about walling, from any where in the world.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:40 pm
by stonewaller
I am a dry stone waller
All day I dry stone wall
Of all appalling callings
Dry stone wallings worst of all

Pam Ayres

PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 8:20 pm
by Tracey B
Try this link:
After you have read the poem put 'dry stone wall' into the search on the homepage.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 8:26 pm
by Tracey B
I expect you know this one Jerry. Goldsworthy kind of immortalised it by putting it in the front of his book 'Wall'.......but others may not. ... oemId=7520
(Was going it post in its entirety but wasn't sure if there might be copyright issues here).

PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 8:28 pm
by Tracey B
Weh hey....just went to 5 red stars to match yours Jezza! I am also therefore officially active.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 8:48 pm
by jerryg
[quote="Tracey B"]Weh hey....just went to 5 red stars to match yours Jezza! I am also therefore officially active.[/quote]

must be some thing to do with our love of doggies, ps have you noted that all our previous postings have been changed to 5 stars too?

post early for christmas


PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:24 pm
by Jayt
heres one,, merry Christmas to everyone.
JayT :D
NB from a humble regular subscriber :lol:

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:24 pm
by bhutcheon1
Here is a wee thing I wrote for "The Big Stone Man" Norman Haddow to celebrate his Pinnacle Award and to thank him for the time taken to share his endless skill.
It was inspired by a visit from a field mouse while we worked in the grounds of Falkland Palace on a superb sunny day .


Some say I'm not important
Cos I'm tiny.....and a mouse
But even mice need shelter
And a place to call a house

Last autumn in a fallen wall
I chose to build my nest
It felt safe,secure and watertight
And I felt I'd done my best

But the winter came,so cold and wet
I really was in trouble
My fallen wall felt insecure
And more a pile of rubble

The wind came in
And freezing snow near took my life away
I've never been so glad to see
A sunny springtime day

That crisp clear April morning
Something woke me with a start
And I had to run for cover
As my home was torn apart

I watched in fascination
As the stone was all laid out
In an odd shambolic order
I thought,"what's all this about"

And then,as if by magic
As this dyker's day progressed
A new wall appeared from nowhere
I was really quite impressed !

Big stones went to make foundations
Any gaps were packed real tight
Other stone just seemed to find its place
And soon the wall had height

Shaping some stone with a hammer
And taking little time to stop
Special upright stones were made
That sat along the top

The sun was going down
That man had no more need to stay
And I heard a happy dykers
Heavy footsteps fade away

The morning broke and golden sun
Lit up this brand new wall
I stared in admiration
As it stood there, proud and tall

I knew I needed shelter
And a place to run and hide
So I moved up close.squeezed through a gap
And soon was deep inside

What I found there was fantastic
And would make the perfect house
For a happy little rodent
And maybe a Mrs Mouse !

Now my friends have all been over
Hedgehog,Squirrel,Mole and Rat
And I've even had a visit
From the local farmers cat

The question they all ask me
I will answer for you now
As I feel the man who built this wall
Should stand and take a bow

Who was that man who built this wall
My friends all come to see
His name was Norman Haddow
And he built my house for me

Merry Christmas to All
Bruce H

PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 2:15 pm
by jerryg
Very good, thank you, I once met norman while I was working at Innerwick in Glen Lyon in 1990.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 5:05 pm
by Tracey B
Nicely done Bruce. Thanks for sharing.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 11:39 am
by rebecca_riots
jerryg's question about poetry about walls was ages ago, but here is one suggestion...

Robert Frost's poem "Mending Wall"

It begins - Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
and ends - He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

You can read the whole poem here... ... nding.html
or here


PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 1:52 pm
by jerryg
Thanks for that. I seem to remember in the far off distant past having to study poets, one of which was Robert Frost. I wonder if I ever read that poem and if I did if it has had a hidden influence on my love of walling.

Re: Walling poetry

PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:18 am
by bioluminescing
hello. though i'm not a waller(yet), i am fascinated with the art of dry stone walling and have written quite a few poems on the subject; here are some which have actually been published in some literay magazines in the u.s. hope you find something you like!

The Dry Stone Waller Choosing His Own Headstone

Noting the homoginization of shapes,
my asymmetric rocks seemed more honest
to commemurate a life where we too
struggle to fit in with our own oddly angled faces
until a lover's hands midwife us into light
and we're amazed another soul sees value
in our somewhat cold and weighty nature,
and so I told the salesman I'd "compose
my own headstone from rocks who never lost faith
in their odd ball shapes fitting perfectly
in the unseen, grand scheme of their creator"
to which he stilled and--with card held out
engraved with "precision cut, lowest rates"--
became, with pale face, his own grave headstone.

*poetry east magazine

The Dry Stone Waller Walling in the Small Town Cemetary

In rising walls I spy a giant coffin
for a late, open casket wake where god
weeps over "wife Jane taken from child"
though, in old maples' roots, nourished by de-
composing caskets' remains, I too spy
"newlyweds who died in honeymoon fire"
re-incarnating into leaves with such view
of Lake Winnipesaukee that they, too,
possibly divine God's grand design in
these brief lives of living on so much light,
and so I celebrate the fallen leaves returning,
in spring, as iris that--peering over
the wall--turn this coffin into a cradle
ever so gently rocking my joy awake.

*poetry east magazine

The Dry Stone Waller Muses About Chipmunks and Transubstantiation

Often chipmunks move in before the wall is thigh high
and, with Franciscan robes and indifference to mallet blows
earthquaking their dark, meditative chambers below,
remind me of Christian mystics leading contemplative lives
while armies catapulted stones against monastary walls
before pillaging meat, grape, and grain for this or that king,
and so I praise these brothers faithfully chanting morning prayers
before bravely foraging acorns through another day where
stone shards might spear into their soft shoulders, though
not keep them, I see, from losing faith in the inherent
goodness of nature as, when the wall is almost complete,
few see evil in the acorns of alms I offer in my palm
and, before eating, look like a priest holding a host
up to the lapsed catholic in me again a believer.

*spoon river poetry review

The Dry Stone Waller Muses About Cosmology

For God, stars and planets are like set stones
whose poetic constellations balancing
on nothing but the grace of gravity
mark the line between human and divine,
and we, like creatures in dry stone walls, thrive
in the negative space between earth and moon--
Venus and Las Vegas--though, yes, true,
like lizards, frogs, and mice--we still fear being
crushed by the errant meteor, or wonder--
like chipmunks trembling to waller's hammering--
if a kind being is behind this grand design
which sometimes frostheaves with tsunamis
so, some days, we see the meek, lowly snail
as one of God's chosen people as she
carries her adobe home on her shoulders
and, when retreating from the white light
of probing finger, finds her only hope in
her molten body hardening into stone.

*spoon river poetry review

Re: Walling poetry

PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:06 am
by Waller-E
From a booklet titled "The History and Heritage of Hedges and Walls in South Gloucestershire",
"The Road to Cherrington" by U. E. Stafford.

The whole wall's been dismantled
as far as the farm at the road's turn.
No trouble with the gradient for a mile.
The stone lies in a long scatter,
as if thrown by an angry player flinging the pack down,
abandoning the game.
Or his tall card-castle collapsed again and he let it lie.

And couch grass, fast and flexible,
threads through crevices in the tumbled line
bent on a cover-up. I went past in April,
oak leaves breaking ginger in the sun,
smell of wild garlic under particular shade
at the start of a Sunday drive. A few crows
clacking above the wood; open field; no-one about.

Years of frost and thaw must craze and humble
a dry stone structure. Mending will only go so far.
In spring there's a sea shore spatter on the ground;
where hawthorn's warm, exuberant foam, mallow
and tall cow-parsley had sprung along the verge,
I saw a run of new-built wall.

Knapweed and thistle head are grey silk now.
Desolate stones still lie beyond the build.
I've seen the man in a blue shirt, alone,
considering, bending his back, steadily making a wall,
his work deliberate as the Great Wall of China.
He'll have finished his length, the dry-stone waller,
by the first frost, I have no doubt at all.

Re: Walling poetry

PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:48 am
by Waller-E
"Little Feat - Willin' sung by Lowell George Live 1977. HQ Video"

I apologize in advance, but this thing's been rattling around in my skull for the past few weeks, and this thread is as good an excuse as any to let it out. The link (if it works) is to an old tune by Little Feat, titled "Willin'". I've changed the lyrics to the worthier subject of dry-stone walling. Here goes:

I've been warped by the rain,
Baked by the sun,
Tired and dirty,
My kind of fun,
And I'm still

It's time to quit,
The dusk is deep;
Time to go home
And go to sleep,
And dream of walls,
Dry stone walls.

And I've built them
Freestanding and retaining,
Rolled a boulder or two;
I've built with every kind of stone
That's ever been found,
Fieldstone and damnstone,
Flat and round.
And if you give me
A field full of stone,
Like a dog with a bone
I'll be willing
To go walling.

Kicked by the wind,
Robbed by the sleet,
Had my fingertips shredded,
But I'm still on my feet,
And I'm still

Battered and level and coursed
And hearted strong,
Built to stand long
After I'm done
And gone
And coped.

And I've built them
Freestanding and retaining,
Laid down a flag or two;
I've built with every kind of stone that's ever been seen,
Gritstone and sh*tstone,
Rough and mean.
And if you give me
A life filled with stone,
I will go it alone,
Always willing
To be walling.