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Michael McConway, Contributor.
Swaddled in a blanket of yellow canvas
the Baler rests.
The knotted balls of twine mottled and frayed,
where cowed mice have laid their nests.
The Balerman arises,
from his buttery soda-bread and soft-boiled eggs;
Folds the tarpaulin; replenishes the twine;
And shifts the overturned Bushmills Kegs.
Clad in an oily brown boiler suit,
and jaunty chieftain cap.
He polishes the musty bale chamber golden,
then retires for afternoon nap.
In the early evening,
he latches the baler in tow.
Stocked with copious shearbolts and grease,
“I’ll be back by supper-time, you know.”
Feeding the unkempt rows of hay into the baler’s maw,
he watches the sun sink low in the sky.
And when he should be back home for his supper,
He can’t get the knotters to tie.
When the baling is over,
he secures the bale chamber door with a stoop.
And despite recruiting help from the younger lads of the yard,
strides proudly to build the last stook.
Today the Balerman lies,
In sleeping rows at the back of Cargin where no more he cries
“Shift that outside row” or “take tally of those bales on the counter.”
No more the glint of freshly wilted grass reflected in his eyes.
But the craft of baling has not died,
and a younger man has taken his place.
With ripped jeans at the knee, and the T-Shirts that came free,
the same grease marks on his weary face.
The New Holland remains.
The rich red paintwork tainted pink,
over thirty glorious summers.
And the jockey wheel’s been lost, I think?