shytone  books  music  essays  home  exploratories  new this month

 exploratories




woolshed



...there’s this smell...

of lanolin & sheep dip, dried-up dags & centuries-old wood
soaked in it all, and
there’s sweat in there, too
and old iron oiled again...and yet again...

lest inexorable rust make gains beyond further use


this is the smell of a woolshed



and I can still catch it, sometimes, albeit the farm is long sold
it’s daughters dispersed
and their parents died in town

newly-planted vines never yielding
as the strokes cut them down



my mother was brought up there,
and my earliest treasured memories, perhaps,
come from this place - the house, built by accretion
till its shape resembled a labyrinth
cobbled together by some drunk

the frog-filled stream, traversing the paddocks
til it met its river, dark, deep & mysterious


but,
we never played around the river,
deemed too dangerous...still, the stream was a godsend, and
near the top...a woolshed - just one workplace
from some other era


my grandfather
loved auctions & old tools
and, these I already loved & knew
from home...my father having most of his father’s
- the hard-worn hand tools of a craftsman from those long years before power -

but still, there was something special about those on the farm
at home in their work, even though
time was passing them by



today,
people collect these as curios,
their wood scarred, yet softly gleaming
with oil, and sweat, ground in by many hard hands
and years

 but,
what we buy - for our use, today
are made a hemisphere away
and never of wood


which, perhaps

is why I
so treasure these memories
of a farm long sold to wealthy strangers at their whim,
the strong-built floor where sheep were shorn
and that smell, like the pungent flavour
of days gone by

beyond reckoning



John Henry Calvinist