Sunday, 6 September 2009

The Wind That Shakes The Barley

A favourite spot of mine, a lay by on the old Fofar to Brechin road, just past Aberlemno. On a clear day you can see for miles and miles over the rolling Angus countryside.

As you can see, it wasn't the clearest day yesterday, but it was still bonny. Most of the barley has been harvested in the area, but this farmer was probably caught out by last week's heavy rains.
The following poem was written from the perpesctive of a young Irish rebel whose love was shot by the Brits during the 1798 Irish rebellion and gave it's title to the Ken Loach film.
The Wind That Shakes The Barley

I sat within a valley green
I sat me with my true love
My sad heart strove to choose between
The old love and the new love
The old for her, the new that made
Me think on Ireland dearly
While soft the wind blew down the glade
And shook the golden barley

Twas hard the woeful words to frame
To break the ties that bound us
But harder still to bear the shame
Of foreign chains around us
And so I said, "The mountain glen
I'll seek at morning early
And join the bold United Men
While soft winds shake the barley"

While sad I kissed away her tears
My fond arms 'round her flinging
The foeman's shot burst on our ears
From out the wildwood ringing
A bullet pierced my true love's side
In life's young spring so early
And on my breast in blood she died
While soft winds shook the barley

I bore her to some mountain stream
And many's the summer blossom
I placed with branches soft and green
About her gore-stained bosom
I wept and kissed her clay-cold corpse
Then rushed o'er vale and valley
My vengeance on the foe to wreak
While soft winds shook the barley

But blood for blood without remorse
I've taken at Oulart Hollow
And laid my true love's clay-cold corpse
Where I full soon may follow
As 'round her grave I wander drear
Noon, night and morning early
With breaking heart when e'er I hear
The wind that shakes the barley.
Robert Dwyer Joyce 1836-1883
For more Scenic Sunday posts click here


  1. Beautiful landscape out there and it´s easy to see why it would be one of your favourite spots.

  2. This has been an educational post for me, Neil. I just spent an hour of so reading various wiki thingies.

    ... and it's also very lovely; the barley, the view and the poem. Beautiful.

  3. What a great spot. Enjoyed the poem and the clouds in your previous post

  4. Yes, all lovely -- moving poem and beautiful captures! Thanks, Neil!


  5. All is very nice, the wiev and the poem.

  6. A very sad poem and lovely pictures. I like the second one, the tractor tracks draw your eye into the view.

  7. Loving that second picture. The epitome of UK countryside. Gorgeous.

  8. I so miss the fields of barley at this time of year.

    And a fine example of cheering Scots poetry!

  9. Cool pics, groovy movie. Ta.