Let my malady bring once more,
the healing scent of mountain thyme,
long lost with the fields of heather,
no fragrance along our cobblestoned roads.
Shire horses and ploughmen replaced by steam,
as we fled our poverty to the factories and the mills.
No more the hyssop plucked from the forest’s edge,
our senses stripped baren, no pleasure to yield.
Soothe my soul with doctor’s herbs;
sage and rosemary to recall green fields,
that gas works and chimneys have long replaced,
with a life of no relish, just the drab smell of slate.
If you take me, Lord, pray let it be,
to a heavenly abode of chamomile.
Historical Note: Before the Industrial Revolution in 18th Century Britain, most people resided in small, rural communities. They had access to many roadside herbs, little known today, such as bugloss, borage, chykynweed and rokett. Many villagers had a curtilage (an enclosed plot) adjoining their humble cottages where they could grow herbs, fruit and vegetables. With the industrialization of agriculture, most were forced to move to the cities in search of employment, where their connection to the fertile earth was lost.
Moshe Forman, June 2019