farm bunkhouse, Uncategorized

Swinging a gate

I return to the bowser a quarter hour after starting the fill.
I have not found time to diagnose the fault with my borehole pump
so I am still bound to fill the water tanks under the house
from the cattle’s water pulled from my first well
tankered round with the quad several times a day.
If the bunkhouse is full I struggle to keep pace.
The tap is by my last bag of cattle nuts from the winter stocks,
I’ll need it on occasion to pull the cattle into the yard for dosing, inspection, weaning and so on.
Since the two yearling stotts are loose round the farm,
not contained like the mothering cows
apart from Moira who with George belong in this middle zone,
the gate needs closed.
Sometimes I forget
to find a rubbed channel on the fabric of the tote bag
where an animal has head-downed to fullness.
The gate is folded back against the fence
needing swung one eighty.
I stand at the post and pull to start the arc,
hold the top bar and lean back with my full weight.
I take the strain on my right foot swinging my left
out and back for counterbalance like the backactor on the JCB.
The pull of my straightened arm tautens the flesh of my oxter,
until the gate starts, slowly and then more rapidly
until I can shift my grip and the metal swings easily into place
like a haltered animal.
I call my father to mind
without knowing why-
unless swinging a gate
is a childlike thing.

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