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Staker's Land


I cut these stumps and broke this ground

Dug this ditch and turned this clay

I raised this goose and trained this hound

And still the ocean sucks the world away


My father’s father watched this beach

Unnatural sails and strangers’ oars

And we lit beacons to keep them out of reach

For the king that gave us land and gave us law


So I will live at Staker’s Farm

Graze my herd at Staker’s Pond

I will fish the Arun River until the day I’m gone

So I can set my name to the deed of Staker’s Land


My larder’s filled with salted meat

Eels and cabbages and pears

My oxen plough an acre in a day

The water steals a handspan in a year


Once a year I lend my knife

To do my duty by my lord

And the Abbey land will always take a tithe

But the God I fear most walks along the shore

Last night I dreamed the bells of Littlehampton church

Called out a warning and a curse

The sky was full of gannets. The air was thick with spray

The sea came up and washed us all away



© MarkGSongs 2011

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