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U3A Writing: Yesterday

Mick Harkin tells of a solitary memorial to days long gone.

It stands as if a statue, through heat and dust and rain,
Been there nigh on eighty years surveying outback plains.
What is its past history, has it a tale to tell?
Has it seen the ups and downs, happiness and hell?

Ah yes it has a history, of life thatís now passed by.
The hurry and the scurry, the annoying mongrel flies,
Searing heat, swirling dust, the stockmanís urgent cries,
Cattle dogs, a mooing herd, the sweaty horsesí hides.

The snorting of the horses, panting dogs kept up the pace,
Startled moos of cattle as theyíre forced along the race.
Rattle and the clanking of heavy wooden gates.
Cracking of stockmenís whips echoed round the place.

Into the darting yard the cows and calves are driven,
Pushing, shoving, urged along. No degree is given.
Standing huddled in the yard all are traumatized.
It isnít hard to see their plight, see it in their eyes.

Branding irons at the ready, their tips a reddish glow,
Smell of burning flesh wafts by, calf bellows from below.
This cruel act continues on until the work is done.
All is peace and quiet by the setting of the sun.

Billy boiled, tucker cooked, a time for some respite.
Camp fires flickered brightly far into the night.
The sound of muffled voices often can be heard.
By early hours of the morn no man speaks a word.

Gone are sounds of stamping hooves, of curses loud and long,
No talking round the campfire, no more cheerful songs.
The sturdy yards of post and rail have now been torn asunder.
This corner post all that remains, while we are left to wonder.

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