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Wednesday, 21 March, 2001, 12:40 GMT
World Poetry Day: From behind the farm gate

To mark World Poetry Day poet Katharine Banner has recorded a work for BBC News Online from her Darlington dairy farm.

With UK farming again plunged into crisis, this time by foot-and-mouth, Accidents is a poem "about how easily we forget", says Banner.

Listen to the poem against a backdrop of images from the current farming crisis by clicking below. Accidents photo file

Photo File can only be viewed on RealPlayer 6 and above and G2. To download the latest RealPlayer free click here.

Alternatively, listen to audio only by clicking the icon below.

 Accidents, by Katharine Banner

Or read the poem for yourself, below.


Accidents

Among this year's health and safety recorded
agricultural accidents: a farmer crushed
by a bull (she'd reared herself, of course),

two septic tank gassings,
one slurry pit drowning
And a freak lightning strike

which blew the victim clean out of
his trainers and off the top bales
of an unfinished stack. The usual toll

of bit removed by PTOs, the waited for
unblocking disasters: a Rotavator
stalled in a semi-cultivated field, its operator

nowhere to be seen; an auger
pausing on a mouthful of straw;
a baler nonchalantly churning oily air.

Contemplating this list
and after every minor accident or near miss -
blackened digits, a grain silo's broken grip -

you swear you'll never do that again
but remember then the nonagenarian who leaned
into his smouldering Ford and fumbling

for the hydraulics found forward gear instead, who'd done roughly the same thing sixty years before
carting stone with a subsultory horse.

so this time the only damage
was to and by his hollow limb
which nipped up slightly and bruised his stump.

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