Sunday, 15 June 2014

Another poem

This is a young Clydesdale, not the Norman of the poem who was a mature horse.
He was photographed at Mount Kembla, NSW,  in 2006


“I reckon he’s a real nice horse!”
says Peter Fuller, leaning on the paddock fence.
“I got him from the knackers
and I don’t know where he came from.
He’s got lovely conformation,
noble head
and good strong legs!”
Norman stood on four great tree-trunks
feathered white around each base,
with a coat of old red cedar
and a white blaze down his face.
“But I don’t know if he’s ever worked before,”
says Peter Fuller,
“So I’ll harness up
and try him out today.
We’re doing a promotion for the discount store,”
says Peter Fuller.
“I just hope that he’s OK!”

Peter burnished Norman’s hide,
polished up the stripy hooves
and decked his tail with flowers and ribbon.
Norman lowered down his head
while in his mane rosettes were made.
Out came the Scottish harness,
all its leather oiled with Dubbin,
the heavy collar, the shining chains,
the silver breastplate, the gleaming brasses.
 Norman took the bit and backed up to the waggon.
Peter fixed the traces and gathered up the reins.

All day long
the country town of Orange
rang with the echoes of its
not-so-distant past-
staccato clopping of the hooves,
the jingling chains, the clink of brass,
the heavy rumbling of the wheels,
the old familiar cries
of “Gee!” and “Whoa!”
And all day Norman worked
and all day Peter sat aloft
and only cracked the whip
to make a show.

At six o’clock,
the last delivery done,
they turned the waggon round
to head for home.
“A mighty chunk of horse-meat you got there!”
remarked the butcher,
pausing in his door
to lean upon his broom.
Peter climbed down off the seat
and stroked the horse’s sweating side.
“I got him from the Blayney Abattoir
for thirty quid!
We’re going in the Lithgow Show-
and after that, the Royal!
I want to buy that fancy cart
that’s sitting in your shed.
I reckon we’re a real good team!”
Peter Fuller said.


© Tamsyn Taylor,     February 18, 2002

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