Back to the Land
Back to the Land explores community farming in Pembrokeshire, creating a deep map of people’s relationships to the landscape through creative writing and music. Gathering words and sounds, the collaborators of Back to the Land will narrate how people form connections with the natural world.
Phil Jones is a musician and writer who spends his time in Pembrokeshire and Cardiff. He is collaborating on this project with Poumpak Charuprakorn, a Thai composer and tubist currently based in Cardiff, and Rosey Brown, a writer and musician based in Cardiff.
To listen to work-in-progress sound pieces created by Phil, Rosey and Poumpak please visit: https://soundcloud.com/
You can follow Back To The Land on Instagram: @backtothelandpembs
Below is an extract of work-in-progress poetry by Phil.
Parc Dan Garn
This is Parc Dan Garn, which means the field
underneath the mountain, the garn. Sheep
from mid-Wales come here every year.
It’s another farmer now, Huw Davies.
The previous farmer was Huw Davies as well,
he’d been with us fifty years. He decided
to graze his sheep nearer his farm
and we tried to get other people and now
we’ve got a new farmer, again, Huw Davies.
The reason they bring them down
is because we’re in a warmer climate
than in the mountains, so they extend the season
of grazing and they come down on honeymoon –
they come with the rams and then they go back
to the maternity ward to lamb on Huw Davies’s farm.
We used to grow fifty acres of potatoes, we’d done that
for thirty years. We used to grow our own seed,
employ thirty-two casual people, local people,
and two full-time people. To change,
to make the right decisions, that’s very difficult:
there was the 1985 crash in potatoes, the price falling,
and I didn’t give up then, I kept going for a year or two
but then the price fell again and then I got out,
I stopped growing potatoes. Farming is a way of life
and you love it, and you survive. Selling the cows,
they were pedigree: we bred them, we knew them,
and knew their granddams and panddams,
and you arranged their marriages, if you will,
by choosing the bull to better the type you wanted.
Not necessarily to have more milk, but of quality of milk,
the size of the animal, and the way the udder,
let me think of the English, is grown underneath the cow,
not that it’s saggy and dragging, but it’s tight and uniform.
The day of the auction was a sad day. The farm has changed a lot.
We’re thinking of, with this business of Brexit
and losing our funding, we’re thinking of glamping
and having people over there because you’d be isolated.
You’d have that view and as it is now with this pandemic
it’d be safer. (Shit, there’s ragwort here too. The seeds –
with feathers so that they fly everywhere.)
Yes, the farm is a living being, it has a soul,
and there will always be the farmer in the field.
These now are Belted Welsh Black – they’re for the beef.
They want to come on this pasture, that’s why
they’re so noisy. The one shouting, she’s the mother,
crying for her calf that was lost.
That’s why she’s coming to us,
and she was thinking we might have the calf
because the last time she saw the calf
was my son was taking it away.
Located Residencies 2020
Located Residencies are Creative Development projects which give exciting artists an opportunity to lead on the early development of a new idea for performance, which is embedded in a specific location in Wales. Read about 2020’s other Located Residencies here.