Memories flood back to me
on gusts of wind and gentle breezes.
I follow the lane of my early childhood days,
between tall, close windbreak trees
which provided welcome summer shade.
Away down there at the end of the lane,
on the right hand side, was our farm gate.
In summer’s school afternoons,
I would climb to stand on its lowest rail,
my arms over the top, and stand there
as my sister unlatched it and passed through.
Me, I’d wait till it was latched again,
enjoying the breeze in my hair,
as I’d stare at the view,
and climb over when I was ready.
I see the line of trees up the left side
of the gravelly drive. So old their trunks
had grown through the Number Eight.
One, fallen an age ago, bare of its bark and branches,
pulled down the wire fence it lay on.
The milk stand sat in front of the fallen trunk.
We would pass it as we wandered
up the gravelly drive to the farmhouse.
To the right was a slippery grass covered bank
down to the creek which separated
the horses’ paddock from the rest of the farm.
We stuck to the drive, or walked on its left.
The farmhouse, nestled behind a gated hedge,
its verandah, never sat on.,
its front door never approached.
We all used the side gate in the picket fence,
crossed the sea of concrete,
and came to the back door after stepping up
onto the quarter-circle porch, all painted red.
The building opposite the house–four areas in one.
The farm workers’ quarters–one room,
filled with the junk by previous owners.
The wash-house–its copper, two concrete tubs, and its mangle.
The tool shed–full of hand tools, gardening tools, and poisons.
The last, entered around the corner
out of sight from the windows–the out-house real,
with its purple squares of apple wrappers on a hook,
its candles waxed onto the dwangs,
spare torch batteries for the night’s walk,
and its broad, solid timber seat with that dire hole