photograph of St Mary Hoo village sign

St. Mary Hoo Parish Council


::Home Page  ::Parish Council Meetings   ::Councillors & Clerk  ::Links  ::Location Map


Lizzie Ballagher contacted the Parish Council following a recent visit to All Hallows Marshes.  She wrote,

"Just north of St Mary Hoo, my husband and I met a local farmer in our travels who was feeding his cattle under very difficult circumstances on a day of hostile weater (not long after the unseasonal snow we had).  We thought he was a hero and had quite a long conversation with him after watching him at his work.

I realise it's not every day that parish councillors receive letters from poets about poems written in response to things seen on their walks, but I'm eager to put the poem into the hands of the farmer concerned.  Online searches of local farms reveal very little that is relevant....", she continues

"...The farmer concerned will know who he is and will remember our conversation, I'm sure.

It is our omission and folly that we did not ask him which farm he was working on, but we suspect it is either Moat Farm, Ross Farm, Decoy Farm or Newlands (if that farm is still a working venture)."

If anyone is able to help Lizzie, could they please contact her directly?

Her email address is


Marsh Cowboy

Marsh grass is seared & bleared

By late spring blizzards & a binding easterly.

"Knee-high by now, grass should be

On the flats," he grumbles wearily.  Instead,

Cattle stumble over hoof-pocked, desiccated ground.

Scant grazing here.

So the marsh cowboy drives his Chevy

To the levee of the long All Hallows sea-wall,

His wagon packed with feed-nuts.

Is this a better way to ride the range?

Who needs corrals, lassoes?  The whoop and holler

Of the singing rope?  The creak of saddle leather?

In their place he rides the bucking pick-up

In a sweeping circle shucking fodder out as fast

As his wife shells peas in August.

At the muck-splattered gate,

Thick-necked bullocks jostle & bellow,

Ridged shoulders shoving, breath bursting on the icy air.

"Five hundred quid a day to feed that mob.

And after the wettest winter in a century-"

He shakes his head,

"-Still we need the rain

For grass and grain.

the world, the weather-

All gone mad."

No answer can we give in a parched April

To the wind's interrogation; to the marsh cowboy.

 © Lizzie Ballagher, 2013


::Home Page  ::Parish Council Meetings   ::Councillors & Clerk  ::Links  ::Location Map
Last Revised - 22 May, 2013       ©2007-2013 St. Mary Hoo Parish Council
Web Site by Clive Stanley Associates