Bland On Bland – Farm

FarmThe theme this week for the first JVG Radio Method of 2009 is “FARM“. Lucky for me I spent my hols up the bush. I was “in the zone” as they say.

Click here to hear the poem [audio:JVG_Poem20090201.mp3]

Ed Bates is back on slide for 2009. (I still am astounded at what he did for the “Holiday” poem last year – I am not sure that astounded is a good thing)


It was the eggs that tipped him over the edge – scrambled – or so they claimed
Henry reckoned serving that sludge – well the chickens were being defamed

We’re the oddest of creatures – more than we grasp – in fact odd without even knowing
We take the worst that life dishes up and somehow find a way to keep going

Then a seemingly insignificant thing and we’ll snap and be brought to our knees
Like a tree that endures a hurricane – then surrenders to a hint of a breeze

In the six months he’d lived in the nursing home, Henry appeared contented and calm
For the previous eighty years, give or take, Henry’s life was his farm

His grandfather settled there in the late 1800’s, cleared every acre by hand
Henry was born on the living room table – all he’d ever known was this land

He met his wife Dulcie at a public meeting on controlling Patterson’s Curse
Despite a face once described as a sheep’s arse with eyebrows, Dulce took him for better or worse

What with droughts and fires, rabbits and locusts it seemed she’d copped more of the latter
But potential partners were rarer than bunyips – and looks – well they didn’t matter

In fact her mother and father met at a meeting to eradicate prickly pear
Besides, Dulce was tired of going to funerals and hoping to meet somebody there

She was left to manage the farm for a time while Henry went off to war
The day he came home he went straight to the shed and finished sharpening his saw

The New Guinea jungles had taken their toll but work round the farm couldn’t wait
“That’s enough travelling for me” Henry said – and he never again left the state

The week on the coast every year was for Dulce – to Henry it didn’t make sense
I mean why would you want to lay round on a beach when you could be mending a fence

Breakfast – two eggs – served at five every morning – with the prize winning sauce Dulcie made
“So fresh they were poaching” Henry observed “Before the chooks even knew they’d been laid”

Both of them desperately wanted children, but it wasn’t destined to be
Henry made light, “It’s probably best – they might of ended up looking like me”

Any thoughts of self pity they ploughed into the farm and that brought it’s own share of tears
Instead of kids they reared calves and Dulcy raised chickens, together for fifty two years

They were down by the creek with harness and chains – a heifer had got itself stuck
Henry was digging it free from the mud – while Dulce gently pulled with the truck

He gave her a wave to take up the strain, the truck lurched and the engine went dead
He found Dulcie slumped, hands still on the wheel, “Her heart just gave out” the doctor said

Fifty two years – done – in a heartbeat – Henry struggled once Dulcie was gone
But there’s always plenty to do round a farm and Henry just plodded on

Locals noticed a steady decline – the paddocks covered in weeds
Fences broken – stock on the road – with little water or feed

One morning Henry let the kettle boil dry and the kitchen was nearly burnt down
The authorities intervened and had Henry assessed and decided to shift him to town

Once his closest neighbour was 2 k’s away – now three strangers shared his room
He didn’t complain – seemed happy enough – at least that’s what they assumed

So the scrambled eggs caught them by surprise – the doctor recommended sedation
They’d failed to realise there’s a world of difference between contentment and resignation

Henry’s nurse proved more observant and a little more lateral than most
“Why not give him a spanner and something to fix? – and for breakfast just give him toast”

It goes to prove we’re all a bit quirky – even when we’re on our last legs
Most of us are can take a few knocks – but not when it comes to our eggs

© Copyright 2009 Ian Bland

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