In August 2013 we joined Anthony Hartley to help fix some wall gaps. He was with Michael Longworth, a younger man who has been helping at Anthony’s Farm for eight years.
Later, at the kitchen table, Anthony told us that Michael would be leaving - he was ready for his own farm and had applied for tenancies nearby, but without success. Finally he had been given a tenancy on a farm in Derbyshire. He would still be farming, but not in Cumbria.
Michael’s departure, and Anthony’s sadness at his loss, albeit alongside optimism for his future, inspired Harriet to write this poem. It’s a counterpart, in some ways, to Wordsworth’s poem of the same name where an older Michael stays in the valley and says farewell to his son.