Genevieve Osborne / Poetry

SLOW FALLING

The house slow falling makes no sound
Cows amble by without regard
Inch by year closer to the ground
You look away, pull out your working card

Cows all around eat on without regard
Through the window corncobs on the floor
You look away, play your working card
Once running feet and laughter kept the score

Through the window corncobs on the floor
Cattle find a shelter from the cold
Once running feet and laughter kept the score
When the river thins the grasses cannot hold

Cattle shoulder in to shelter from the cold
The view across the hills is to the sea
As the river thinned, the grasses could not hold
A salt wind licked the timbers edging free

The view across the hills is to the sea
Inch by year closer to the ground
A salt breeze licks the timbers tilting free
The house slow falling makes no sound

© Genevieve Osborne

‘Slow Falling’ is part of The Disappearing, an app by The Red Room Company that maps poetry to place throughout Australia.

Photo ©  Genevieve Osborne

Photo © Genevieve Osborne

Poet’s note:

This house stands on a rise overlooking the Murrah River, near Bermagui on far south coast of New South Wales. It was the homestead on a dairy farm. After it was abandoned it was used to store feed for cattle and the floor is still littered with corn cobs.

As the house deteriorates it becomes part of the unnoticed disappearing of original farm houses and out-buildings across Australia. The farmers who own the dairy farms or cattle, sheep or wheat farms where the buildings stand are often too busy running the day to day business of the farm to pay attention, nor do they have the resources or desire to spend valuable time renovating old sheds and cottages that may not serve any useful purpose. In many cases it’s easier to put up a new steel shed that won’t need maintenance.

Travellers passing through the countryside may give a passing glance but then return to their music or conversations – intent on their destination rather than the stories that have attached themselves to these disintegrating structures.

So the rich, vernacular architecture and visual beauty of the early buildings of country Australia are being lost. The collapse is quiet – it doesn’t make a fuss. It makes no sound.

 ©  Cian O'Clery.

© Cian O’Clery.

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