by Mercedes Webb-Pullman
There was movement at the homestead for the lease had long run out
and we all had to leave the farm that day
but look at all this gear and stuff, it weighed a thousand tons
and now we had to shift it all away.
First came Leon in the Lite Ace with a half a million kids
and all the clothes and bedding, just in case
and he bottomed in the washout as he headed for the ridge —
to make it up, he’d have to crack the pace.
Then came Pam in her Corolla with a trailer hitched behind
with the kitchen and the bathroom stuff piled high
and tied right to the apex with his base miles off the ground
Fred Cockatoo raised echoes with his cry.
And David followed slowly in his trusty dusty ‘Cruiser,
the caravan could hardly follow on.
It was full of books and toys and things you couldn’t leave behind
so once again you schlepped them all along
and everything was moving, with the Lite Ace in the lead
(and Lynchy tells the story to this day)
how Leon clutched, and shifted gear, and pulled the gear stick out
and stared at it with horror and dismay.
Well the LiteAce lost a bit of speed, and maybe weight was wrong
on the sawmill in the trailer that he towed —
just a little hesitation – then he jammed the damned thing back
and planted foot, and headed up the road
but Pam the panic merchant, when she saw the sawmill stop
she lost it, stalled, and had to hit the brake
and Fred the Cocky cursed her from his spot atop the load
Women Drivers. That just takes the cake.
and all the dogs from all the cars jumped out, and rushed and barked.
Young Stanley was the worriedest of all —
in every car he’d ever been they’d planted foot back there
and never, ever, had there been a stall.
The ‘Cruiser and the caravan had just got through the creek
and headed, dead committed, up the slope
when Groomsie looked, and summed the situation in a glance
while Fred and Stanley chorused No! No hope!
Well the bulbar on the ‘Cruiser wasn’t really built for this
but did its job that day with some to spare;
pushed the trailer, the Corolla, pulled the ‘van and made the grade
and Fred bit Stanley’s nose Take that ! So there !
Now we talk about the time we moved the gang out of the Camp
and thankfully Toyota saved the day
in the wild Monaro ranges up near Kosciusko’s side
where the ‘Cruiser and the bullbar live today.
PHOTO: Rose Valley, New South Wales, Australia.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I used to live in the Snowy Mountains, always by a river in the bush, which meant access tracks were always steep, and sometimes barely formed at all. Add to that the fact that the nearest town was 20 miles away, and you get an idea of the isolation. That, in turn, produced close bonds between the people you shared it with, so what started as a chore could become a reason for shared hysterical laughter. I hope the Aussie terms aren’t too confusing! And a tip of the hat to Banjo Paterson who wrote “The Man from Snowy River,” the template for this poem.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mercedes Webb-Pullman started writing in 2007. She gained her Diploma in Creative Writing from Whitireia, 2009, and graduated from IIML Victoria University with MA in Creative Writing 2011. Her work has appeared in Turbine, 4th Floor, Swamp, Reconfigurations, The Electronic Bridge, Otoliths, Connotations, The Red Room, Typewriter, and Silver Birch Press, among others, and in her books. The latest, The Jean Genie, explores the work of Jean Genet. She lives on the Kapiti Coast, New Zealand. Visit her at benchpress.co.nz.