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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > July 2018 > A fine crop

A fine crop

A vintage yield is topped by a harvest poem in WM’s open competition, says judge Alison Chisholm

FIRST PLACE Scything the Bearded Corn Pamela Trudie Hodge

For six days earth has held her breath lest she blow out the sun. Men gather at dawn, shouldering scythes, bottles of cold tea, precious whetstones.

The bearded corn is ball-gown dressed, cornflower and poppy in her hair, stalks set in gentle cat-faced heartsease. Now she will be scythe-raped, reaped, stalk-tied and hoisted on to the cart.

A bundle of stalks from the last sheaf will be brought to Grandma, placed with reverence in her black lap. Bony fingers work to ancient Pagan rhythm, traditional style, plaited hoops tied, golden stalks arranged in a stiff skirt.

Smell of baking tempts the barn cats to the hot, flag-stoned kitchen where women beat and stir, roll and slice. Honey-sweet hams, rabbit pies. Cakes were made yesterday. Today, biscuits, barley-bread, the skimming of cream.

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About Writing Magazine

How can you get your writing to the readers it deserves? In this month's issue of Writing Magazine we look at how to generate new freelance opportunities and how and why the flourishing independent press scene may be your best bet. First though, if you're a new writer you need to read our guide to finding and fixing those rookie mistakes in How Not to Be a Bad Writer. This month's star interview is the man with the golden pen Anthony Horowitz, talking about bringing back Bond and maintaining his impressive hit rate. Keep up to date with all the latest competitions and opportunities to get into print with Writers' News – there's £37,240 in writing prizes to be won!