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...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

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 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

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

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