Good Bugger

I won’t pass judgement on those hands.

For a start, they knew work.

Opening and closing the sprung blades of shears,

hefting escaped ewes over fences.

He was driving, but I saw the tendons ping;

I saw him in a hot shed, head down,

sweat trailing across a wool-grease floor,

back pen-knifed to flick back the pen gate –

– aiming for the big tally again today –

plunging a crowbar into frosted ground,

stopping only to say: she’s cold today, mate.

Yet here he was, up a winding river path,

a good bugger, voice as gentle as the wind

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