Shear No More
There's an old Aussie shearing shed, rippling
iron, and wire gate
walls of rough hewn timber, and fencing wire, number eight
full of life and standing tall?—no, that was yesterday
no children swinging from its gate, just rhomboid, old, and grey.
No clicking of the shears, no chattering of combs
just the whistling of the wind, dry kero tins, and bones
gone the blood, gone the sweat, and gone are all the tears
they're all gone forever, and have been for thirty years.
The stands are now all empty, their pull cords
'cept for the occasional movement, caused by wind from a glassless sill
the doors are all agape, the sorting table bare
shutes all boarded up, so tourists can't fall down there.
Deserted are the yards, no wethers, ewes or rams
no "git 'round beyind" to an old Border Collie named Sam
still I guess the 'roos are grateful, their safety now assured
but they must have bad memories, for they cannot be lured.
The shearers’ quarters are being restored,
historical society no doubt
new timber here, new iron there, new mortar, inside and out
a chimney marks the kitchen, just imprints in the ground
no bawdy jokes, no sweaty cooks, just 'roo poo all around.
The homestead now stands vacant, no warm fire
or cool beer
I wonder of their fate, those people who lived here
were they driven from this place by tempest, flood or fire
or did they just grow weary, move into town, retire.
Yes they're all gone now, the tar boy, the shearer,
and city folk who visit, prob'ly think, "no loss"
but it's shearing sheds like this, and a thousand others alike
it's the people who once lived here, their industry, their life
that made this country what it is, made it prosperous and free
made it the land that we all love, a home for you and me.
© 1996 Rob Gray
Written about the abandoned Orroral Homestead in
the Brindabella Ranges, ACT.
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