Thursday, September 8, 2011

Daffodils at Barhill.

We took the road from State Highway One,
headed straight for alpine hills;
inland from Rakaia a bit,
we found the wee village of Barhill.

Spring blossoms obscured our old house
by the corner of Lauriston Road.
Re-visiting my birthplace
long forgotten memories flowed.

When I was just a little boy
things towered over me:
I remember a hole in a huge hedge
of macrocarpa tree.
Still there today, that green portal,
once gateway to my home,
where country field and riverbed
were free for me to roam.
The earliest memory that I know
of flood waters all around,
but cradled in a wheelbarrow
I was safe from flooded ground.

Budded trees at the end of winter time,
spring jonquils' perfume strong,
I travelled back just recently
I had been away too long.

Oak, Birch and Sycamore,
the tree-lined avenues-
still as I remembered them
when they came into view-
planted by the farming squire
recreating English style.
A vibrant little village they tried,
It lasted mere a short while.
Surrounding the old stone church,
gay yellow daffodils
still welcome the few worshippers,                     
the parishioners of Barhill.

Just down along the Lauriston road
is the village cemetery:
there lies my dear young sister's grave
we had travelled far to see.

Through the tall wrought iron gates
we walked along the green.
Her simple rock headstone awaited
In such a picturesque scene.

Upon her stone I laid two flower
of bright yellow daffodil,
I picked them from the stone-walled grounds
of the old church at Barhill.
She lies to gaze on our old home
down at the corner there:
she must have loved this quiet place
to want to repose here.

Life takes amazing twisting track,
sometimes it draws full circle;
my young sister's grave now calls me back
to our birthplace of Barhill.

For June.

The small Barhill cemetery with the Southern Alps in the background.

Large farming estates were the backbone of New Zealand's agricultural economy in the late 1800's. An English gentry owner of a landholding south of the Rakaia River in South Canterbury, New Zealand, built an English style village for his many farm labourers. Laid out on a square grid pattern, the village street edges were planted with trees to create that English village scene. Mechanisation of farms during the 50's caused de-population of our small country villages and towns as labourers sought work and new lives in our cities. Under those now massive trees a few cottages remain clustered around the original stone church, which still is haven for the few folk living there and on farms in the district.

I've tried to describe the village, how to drive there, and what to look for.
Devastating floods were common on the Plains until massive stopbanks along major Canterbury rivers were completed during the 1950's/60's.
Oak, Birch and Sycamore remain the village lane names.
The church still ministers to its small congregation.

Our house, one of the few left, has been a home to many families over the past 60 years.

This poem about returning to home is submitted over here at Roys place
Check out all the poems submitted for his Poe a tree hop.

All photos by Jim McIntosh.



Red Nomad OZ said...

Just love your way with words! And the daffodils are extraordinary!! Such a beautiful resting place - and place for reflection.

Jim said...

Thanks Red. A wonderful yellow post to write. I got inspired by visiting the little village with all the brilliant blossoms and yellow daffodils on such a crisp Spring morning with the snow covered Alps in the background.

Elizabeth Young said...

A truly inspirational post Jim. Posts like this are not written in 5 minutes because of all the history that had to take place beforehand. I honour your family and your voice here...

Jim said...

Hi Elizabeth, thanks for the comments. Coming from a very good poet yourself, I am humbled that you appreciate my efforts here. But daffodils, blossoms, a quaint wee village and a nostalgic trip back would inspire anyone to verse, wouldn't they?

inka said...

It's rare to find a travel writer who is also a poet, and a good one at that. I hope you will do it more often.

Barbara said...

What a lovely ode. The village must have been something to see in its heyday. And those alps -- just stunning.

Idelish said...

Beautiful words! Very refreshing to see a different way to convey a message through a blog! Keep it up!

Idelish said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JIM said...

Damna man for all seasons.. A photographer and now poet, setting the bar high my friend!!

Love the story, I just visited the city where I grew up the house is gone but the memories are still strong!!

Thank you for sharing this moment with us.

Nomadic Samuel said...

Lovely shots & words Jim :)

Ayngelina said...

I love the poetic edge to this post, as pretty as the photos.

Jim said...

Hi Inka, thanks for the encouragement. I have published a few poems on here: fact is that my 2 top read posts are poetry. How about that? And you're right, there isn't much travel poetry around.

Barabara so true. I spent my childhood at Barhill then Kirwee, both little towns on the Canterbury Plains and the Southern Alps were taken for granted. Now when we travel back, we truly appreciate their beauty.

Karl said...

"When I was just a little boy,
Things towered over me." << i love this line. it's amazing how perspective can mean to a person.

Jim said...

Idelish thanks and yes, I try to use variety to write about our travels on this site.

Hiya JIM,you're quite an artist yourself with your photography and blending pics with guest's prose.

Glad you liked it Samuel. To tell the truth, I was taking so many pics of the daffodils I forgot to actually take a shot of the village itself would you believe?

Jim said...

Hi Ayngelina, nice of you to say that. I have been experimenting with travel poetry and my 2 most read articles are poetry. Doesn't take to much effort. Seemed to me that on that day, words and lines just sprang up in my mind as we re-visited the place.

photos by jan said...

Beautiful Jim, what a wonderful tribute, wonderful photos, love the daffodils. You are multi-talented I am grateful you have shared with us.

sheril benedict said...

OMG Jim turns into a poet ??? Loved those pics .. man you care of everything :)

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

The poem is so wonderful!!! Keep the poems coming!! I love your photos - they add so much to the post of course. Very interesting about the village where you grew up. I love the cherry blossoms - lovely.

Melissa Tandoc said...

Whoa...I missed your verses and it's wonderful to be visiting your page with that on my first read...

Loved how you've put all your emotions and nostalgia on this post :)

Jim said...

Thanks Jan, my sister died too young. I miss her so whenever we are travelling through we take the time to visit her grave. It was such a superb Spring morning.

Jim said...

Hi Sheril, Did I surprise you? Hey cool. I better cook some new surprises up!

Jim said...

Hi Mari, most will travel through the village and never realize its history. At one time when horse teams worked the land the village would have been home to a full range of craftsmen/horse team handlers and their families. And the owner attempted to create a village reminiscent of their home villages in England.

Jim said...

Yes Melissa, a bit of emotion, a lot of nostalgia wrapped up in a travel destination piece. Glad you loved it.

Stephanie - The Travel Chica said...

Beautiful, retrospective post.

lorna - the roamantics said...

so romantic jim! i really love this fresh take on a travel post. and btw- your site looks beautiful! :)

Jim said...

Hi Karl, yeah, hoped someone would pick up on that perspective line because when looking back at one's earliest memories, everything seems so huge, so had to place those lines in there.

Jim said...

Thanks Stephanie. You're a pretty cool writer yourself. I have a lot to aspire to.

Jim said...

Wow Lorna! How nice of you to say. I've been fooling around with a bit of poetry since I started blogging and really like it. Probably got a long way to go. When in a reflective mood I find words and lines running through my mind, often to tunes. Probably should have learnt to play an instrument.

Jen said...

what a beautiful, beautiful post. thanks for sharing this!

Jim said...

Thanks Jen, some of my sisters and brothers have read this and they loved it also.

Nelieta said...

A beautiful post Jim! Sometimes it is important to walk back in time.It so true perspectives change and so do we.


InsideJourneys said...

A beautiful tribute. Thanks for taking us 'back.'
This resonates as I'm going to the family home next month.

Jim said...

Thanks Nelieta, not often do I look back but combination of earthquakes in Christchurch, revisiting with family and friends there, then travelling down to Timaru and so we took a detour to visit my sister's grave. A good time.

Jim said...

Enjoy your return home Marcia. It's good to take that journey and reflect how life has been a long and interesting journey.
I haven't found that photo of Durban rickshaw yet. One of the other family members may have it now.

Shanda said...

Beautiful memories and view of the lovely mountains in the background.

Jim said...

Hi Shanda, yes they are beautiful. To think I grew up with them in our background never thinking much about them, but these days when we travel back they are just magnificent and such a joy to see.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Beautiful photos and a tearjerker poem. That's one outstanding beautifully sad moment.

Roy Durham said...

there is a angel smiling with a daffodil held to her heart and a star that shine here great poem Jim thank you for joining the hop this is a beautiful post thank you and god bless.

PS you know i have been to my growing up place and with a camera and never took a picture may the camera can see our memories.

Mary Hudak-Collins said...

Lovely post Jim, and of course, you already know how much I enjoy your photos. This post in no different :) Great job!

JANU said...

Such a vivid description, enjoyed the ride down 'your' memory lane.

Rimly said...

Loved your poem Jim. Somehow it reminded me of Wordsworth's poems. It sounded so idyllic. Beautiful imagery.