21 MARCH 1987, Page 31

Folk Poet Poem

The old folk-poet bundled Against the heavy, hard Hand of the ill wind That blew no good to her yard. Birds of a feather flocked Beyond her in the hedge.

The blade of morning balanced On its narrow edge.

But she had fish to fry, So into the frying pan She tossed them: Half-begun - Was how the thing began Is never done? A watched Pot never boils, of course, And woman's work is never - Well, you can lead a horse . . .

But why go borrow trouble? Try again: Well begun Is half the battle — no, Is — here it was, — half done. Where had the morning gone? Into the afternoon.

Time to make up the bed She'd have to lie in soon.

John Ridland