© Claire Reynolds

Winner 2011, Oracles of the Bush – Humorous Section, Tenterfield, NSW.

My Joe is a collector of machinery you know –
A wife who had less patience would have shot him long ago.
Around our yard and all heaped up in splendid disarray
Are multitudes of rusty junk that he “might use some day”.
And if he ever used them, that’s a miracle for sure
They are all so wrecked and rusty that you can’t tell what they’re for.

The shed is overflowing with the stuff he buys at sales.
There are drums and bags and boxes crammed with nuts and bolts and nails,
And screws and wire and metal things in every shape and size,
And bits of gear and gadgets to delight a junk man’s eyes.

he wrecked remains of old machines no longer any use
Just multiply around our yard – they’ve learned to reproduce!
I know that some increase is from the local garbage tip –
Because the trailer’s always fuller when returning from the trip.

There used to be some planks of wood collected by my spouse;
But termites cleaned those up, before they started on the house.
Now – if I could get some metal-eating insects on the go.
They could eat up all the metal junk collected here by Joe.

The piles of junk are home to hordes of snakes and mice and rats
And yesterday I counted eighty-seven feral cats!!
I only want a garden that is nice and neat and clean
But gardening is hard work and my Joe is not too keen.

I asked him once to mow the lawn, which made him swear and mutter
And bits of junk hid in the grass got caught and wrecked the cutter.
So now the mower’s with the rest, just rotting where it broke.
The place looks like a rubbish dump – I tell you it’s no joke.

With crumpled shells of utes and cars, old engines and odd wheels
You don’t live in a junkyard, so you don’t know how it feels! –
I’ve suffered it for forty years; but now I’ve had enough.
I told him, “Joe, I’ve had it so get rid of all this stuff!”

Well now he is retired, and it shouldn’t be too hard
To sort it, and dispose of it and tidy up the yard.
All those rusty bits and pieces that he thought he’d use some day –
Well, Joe has not used one of them as years have ticked away.

I said in no uncertain terms: “Now listen, Joe my dear –
Don’t you ever go and die on me and leave that junk still here!”
If Joe doesn’t get this task complete before he goes to glory
I warned him that his end will be both violent and gory!

He should not expect to lie there sleeping calmly in the ground
And leave me with that wretched junk still piled up all around.
I warned him – and I’ll do it – if it takes my final breath –
I’ll dig the rotten blighter up and then kick him back to death!

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