Re: Writings from the Antipodes.
And finally, before I go to bed. A sad one.
You may not see me often as I ride around my sheep
The hills are hard and savage and the bloody things are steep.
I find a seep, a boggy patch and tell my horse to go
But he is being stubborn - in his minds eye he says ,”No!”
We struggle some, then I get off and lead him to the place
One step and I am knee deep , then flat upon my face.
I look up to his patient face as he stands up and dry,
While I gaze wet and miserable into a leaden sky.
Back aboard my saddle I let him show me where
The best place to approach and then to get us there.
My silent heading Dog looks up as if to ask the Lord
Where did he get this useless boss who cannot find a ford.
We reach the ridge and Dog has seen a ewe that’s having trouble
He looks at me and sighs and rounds her up quick double,
He eyes her still and I’m supposed to creep up to her with skill,
Assist the lamb to join the world and help him get his fill.
The Dog is thirteen years of age, I lack his expertise
To do the job as well as he, as I fumble on my knees.
For three years Dog encouraged me, and tried to help me learn
But he was aging fast, you see and I had years to burn.
At last his sight was giving in, but agile still and keen
He’d run into a tree or fence his dim eyes hadn’t seen.
I couldn’t leave him left behind when other dogs I ran
He loved the run, the company, the knowledge that he can.
I shot that Dog one evening. Under the kanuka tree
Gave him fillet steak , his favourite , set his spirit free.
I stroked his old grey head before he died under my hand,
Owed him that, I did , a friend , fellow worker on the land.
The tears rolled down my cheeks as I sighted between his eyes
The shot thundered, he twitched a bit, became silent bye and bye
I buried him with care and thought, beneath that tree so old
Wrapped in a blanket bright to keep him from the cold.
I made a token to mark the ground that was his place of rest
I knew without a doubt that he was one of nature’s best.
I sat for hours beside his grave , that starry moonlit night
And watched a meteor flash past and thought, “an omen!” right!