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Fenland Poetry and Verse - and More



A fenman's work on Wicken Fen was guided by the season, and the weather. A pattern of life that changed little over the centuries.

Life On The Fen

by Neil Ford

We live by the lode, working out on the fen
It's a hard life but mostly we're happy
We're scything and catching, and cutting the peat
To put bread on the table for the family to eat


Weíre all down the fen where thereís turf to be dug
The men cut and barrow - itís tough
The girls and the youngsters, they quarter and stack
Then itís loaded on lighters and we haul it all back

The season is short, the pumps have been busy
Lifting the water away from the pits
The diggers work hard a-loading the saddle
Blighted by midges and having to paddle

We live by the lode, working out on the fen
It's a hard life but mostly we're happy
We're scything and catching, and cutting the peat
To put bread on the table for the family to eat


Lifeís tough for a fenman as many will tell
Our tasks being guided by the season
Thereís no point in a grumble Ė we just get stuck in
Itís a life that we treasure for good reason

We live by the lode, working out on the fen
It's a hard life but mostly we're happy
We're scything and catching, and cutting the peat
To put bread on the table for the family to eat


Neil Ford
Ely, Cambridgeshire
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