The Poetry of Brian Langley
the true story of my family, in particular my father,
and how his hopes and dreams were not to come to fruition.
In Timbertown where I was born, the only Industries
Were ones to do with cutting up, the wood they got from trees.
There was quite a bit of farming, in the district round about,
On land that was developed, once the trees were taken out.
But he town relied upon the mill, the mill upon the men
Who cut and drove and hauled and fixed, two hundred of them then.
Two jobs were labeled ‘carpenter’, each with a mate or two,
They did the woodwork jobs required, they knew just what to do.
One built and fixed the mill itself, the rails and the skids,
The chute that filled the sawdust piles, on which we played as kids.
The other was the bushie crew, and when I was a lad,
I’d walk beside that carpenter, my friend, companion, Dad.
Sometimes he’d take me to his work. I’d sit and gaze in awe,
At monster bits of timber that, he’d shape with adze and saw.
No dainty dovetailed cabinet work, no house frames did he make.
He fashioned giant timbers, into jinkers for the rake.
His tools were few and simple, just an axe, an adze, a saw,
Some wedges and a hammer and some auger bits to bore
Holes for steel spikes and bolts: But what I liked the best
Were the interlocking frames he made, that stood the toughest test.
He made them from the strongest wood, that nature could provide;
And I can still, within my mind, see my old dad astride
A bit of karri, eight foot long, and eighteen inches square
As he cut channels with an adze, so sharp ‘twould split a hair.
Now what’s this rake? I hear you ask. Well, that is what they called
The string of railway jinkers, on which the logs were hauled.
Two jinkers sat beneath each log, one placed near either end,
With steel bars connecting them: That way the rake could bend
Around the railways narrow curves, through dips and over jumps.
This railway track was far from flat, ‘twas full of twists and bumps.
It snaked along the valley floor; it zigzagged up each hill,
Cross bridges over streams and brooks, from forest to the mill.
And twice a day along this track, a dozen logs or more
Were hauled by engines puffing steam, along the valley floor.
Each monster log supported by, the jinkers of the rake;
Those interlocking frames on wheels, that my old man did make.
Buy "The Forest and other Verses" to read the remaining 23 verses and find out my dad's fate
© Brian Langley 17-7-2005
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