This piece was written as part of the ‘Writing in the Museum’ course and was inspired by the exhibition of First World War posters.
We are such blessed beasts, we sheep, we flocks of Southdowns, we Wensleydales, we Herdwicks, we Beulah Speckled Face. What joy to be alive in 1915 and off to Flanders Fields, where, they say, the ground is so soft on your hooves and the sky is always blue and thronged with larks and swallows and the sweet, sweet yarrow, and salad-burnet and soft-brome leap from the turf into your open mouths, and there is such gaiety there and merriment and we are lambs to the laughter.
We are such lucky ones, we Saddleback pigs, we British Lops, we Tamworths, we Gloucester Old Spots, for we are off to Flanders Fields, to hog heaven, where, they say, the troughs forever overflow with skimmed milk, whey and tender carrots, mangolds and ripest pippins and the rain is warm and hardly wet at all, and there is all the mud you can roll in.
In Flanders Fields, they say the flies are untroublesome, and sing to you most pleasantly in insect choirs, and the grass is a green you have only dreamed of, and honeyed cud of buttercups and red clover and cowslips is ready-chewed for you, and rainbows paint themselves in the sky. And now the trucks are come to take us there, for we are the cows and calves, we Sussex Red, we Aberdeen Angus, we Blue Albions, we Dexters, we Whitebred Shorthorns, we Belted Galloways, we gladsome animals, we chosen few.