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Neil Gillon by broad daylight - Click for larger image  

I suppose it is being on the land myself and Burns being a man of the land that makes this poem stick with me. He was so connected with the land and I think that is something we have lost today. Nowadays it is all about big tractors and 20 tonne machinery that costs thousands of pounds. In the past sheep farmers used to walk the hills. They heard the birds and watched the land under their feet changing. We don’t have that everyday contact with the land anymore. Maybe that’s where we are going wrong.

When Burns wrote, “I'm truly sorry Man's dominion, Has broken Nature's social union,” well, we are still doing that today. But here’s a man who wrote that 250 years ago before anyone was thinking about conservation or the environment. He was just a man doing a job and writing what he saw. But he was also asking us to look for ourselves.

Neil Gillon - Ayrshire farmer

Text © Neil Gillon


other images - Neil and Spot

Neil Gillon by broad daylight 'as others see us'

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To A Mouse, On turning her up in her Nest, with the Plough      

Still, thou art blest, compar'd wi' me !
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e'e.
..........................On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear !

Robert Burns