Read Louis Hemmings’ poem ‘We Feed a hungry nation’


Catherina Cunnane interviewed Louis Hemmings in order to receive an insight into the background of his latest poem We Feed a hungry nation’.

Read Louis Hemmings’ poem ‘We Feed a hungry nation’

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Catherina Cunnane interviewed Louis Hemmings in order to receive an insight into the background of his latest poem We Feed a hungry nation’.

On 31st March, Louis Hemmings published his most recent post ‘We Feed a hungry nation’.

Catherina caught up with Louis to receive an insight into his source of inspiration for this writing.

‘My latest poem was prompted by an article in last Sunday's Independent about yet another farmer suicide, which related to debt.’

He continued ‘I started thinking of all the things stacked against farmers, debt, low supermarket prices, flooding, EU rules, TB issues, social isolation and robbery.

Then I saw this Examiner quote: "A fifth of farmers between the age of 35 and 44 had lost someone to suicide within their immediate or wider family”.

‘Both my paternal grandparents committed suicide. Indirectly I have psychologically experienced a measure of the long lasting consequences of such an emotionally violent act.’

‘By recalling many of the unfavourable aspects to farming I was hoping to evoke a broad sympathy for beleaguered farmers’.

Louis Hemmings’ poem ‘We Feed a hungry nation’

my family farm built-up over five generations,
neighbours sometimes help, so do relations;
farmers provide food, we feed a hungry nation.

my landscape views include bog and briar
rough skinned hands, weathered face perspire;
symphonic rural sounds, bovine eccentric choir.

fresh the farm air breeze, far from city smoke
lenders letters threaten, ready guns and rope
- loosen greedy grip, I’m just about to choke.

i witness wondrous births, both calf and lamb,
my freezer full, local grown beef and ham -
supermarkets strangle us, who gives a damn?

not many politicians on call around the clock,
masked men rob farms with fully-loaded Glock;
no sympathy in suburbia, middle classes mock.

paid a mere pittance, we cannot go on strike,
empathy is needed, more than Facebook “like”;
stark shock statistics, rural suicide spike.

endless the inspections, hog-tie EU rules,
deeply we love land, we’re not foraging fools;
show us some sympathy, start in urban schools.

Read Catherina’s other interview with Louis here.

Here is another one of his poems.

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