Ploughing At Night

(Words and music by and © Talis Kimberley, 2012)

Length – 4:26

Couldn’t have done this with horses
But the new petrol tractor won’t mind
Hold fast your lantern and light me a path, Jack –
Keep the plough steady behind
We’ve blacked out the doors and the windows
We’re aware of the Ministry’s powers
And we rose with the dawn and we’re still going strong
Though our working day’s seventeen hours:

So we’re ploughing at night, it’s our part in the fight
Doing our bit for our country and king
Ploughing at night, under Moon and lantern-light
To raise the food that the ships used to bring

Couldn’t have done this with horses
But the last of them went years ago
There’s not enough beasts in all England to pull all the
Ploughs where we need things to grow
When two thirds of the food England’s eating
Comes from farmland beyond England’s shores
Then working for seventeen hours a day’s our
Response to the fact we’re at war:

And we’re ploughing at night, it’s our land and our right
Doing our bit for our country and king
Ploughing at night, under Moon and lantern-light
To raise the food that the ships used to bring

Couldn’t have done this with horses
Horses need sleep after all
But farmers, we just need the land that we work
And you know that we’ll work till we fall
So our countrymen will not go hungry
So our children and neighbours are fed
When the grain from America doesn’t arrive
And the trade links with Canada no longer thrive
You need something home-grown if you’re going to survive
So we’re working for your daily bread: we’re

Ploughing at night, it’s our part in the fight
Doing our bit for our country and king
Ploughing at night, under Moon and lantern-light
To raise the food that the ships used to bring

Ploughing at night, it’s our land and our right
Doing our bit for our country and king
Ploughing at night, under Moon and lantern-light
To raise the food that the ships used to bring

And we couldn’t have done this with horses…


A Little Bit About 'Ploughing At Night'...

I was spellbound by the BBC series ‘Wartime Farm’, as I have been by all the historical farming programmes featuring Ruth Goodman, Peter Ginn and Alex Langlands. The first episode told how farmers had stepped up their capacity in many ways, including using the new tractors to extend their working days and plough by lamplight – tractors don’t need sleep the way the horses did. My family could see the lightbulb go off in my head as we watched the programme together and were unsurprised when I went off and wrote this song. In fact, the first and last of my ‘Wartime Farm’ songs are here, but I actually wrote a song in response to every episode as it was aired. One or two of the others may appear on another project in time.


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