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The Bough Shed

When I was gazing at a photograph of an old bough shed,

a vivid flash of memories went rushing through my head,

With warm waves of nostalgia, or perhaps a sense of guilt,

because I don’t have more photographs of those sheds we built.

Because the folk I built those sheds with died many years ago;

though for some elusive reason, I just wasn’t meant to go.

So I feel a sense of privilege, a good reason to stay strong

to reveal their hidden stories, and to listen to their song.

Dad taught us how to build bough sheds; it was a bushman’s craft,

making gimlet framework and weaving brush wood was an art.

The gable roof was tightly packed to shed off the winter rain,

the floor of clay firmly rammed, then firmly rammed again.

The door for entry and for exit was the one and very same,

It didn’t have a window frame so it didn’t need a pane.

It was always rather gloomy but sometimes you would find

lizards sleeping in a corner and they didn’t seem to mind

A most primitive construction though a very cool retreat,

when seeking some respite from the summer midday heat.

We knocked the chairs and table up, from odd scraps of wood;

But the tucker served with mother there was always very good

Used for seed and super storage for some months of the year;

dual purpose is a farming trend and that seems very clear.

It became the sheep dog’s kennel during heavy winter rain,

we did clean it out for dining though, when summer came again.

Best of all I do remember mum and dads old double bed,

stacked away among the spiders in the corner of the shed

A wool table was the bed spring when we shore the sheep.

but we put it all together if some friends called in to sleep.

In fifty seven Christmas dinner was lacking in good cheer

as crops were a dismal failure for the second time I fear.

That last year we dined in the shed our troubles were abound.

so we move out to greener fields when we razed it to the ground.

But life has many up and downs, with twists and turns as well;

In trying times you must cling to hope, hanging on like hell.

When you have climbed your steepest hill, with troubling days behind,

you will find that life is beautiful, where there’s joy in peace of mind.


© John Hayes

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