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Two PoemsJohn Kinsella
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Shoes Once Shod in a Blacksmith’s Shop

Shoes once shod in a blacksmith’s shop
rust on hooves lying on the rough edge
           of a paddock, horse skeletons
mingle with broken hoppers & elevators
& the iron-ringed wheels of surface strippers –
           sprouted grain thick on the
ground, like chemically stimulated hair.

The warped screens of a seed cleaner
buried to the knees in clay and salt, snake their
           way up towards the stunted fruit trees’
low-slung fruit like apodal spirits in a venomous
light – winter at their heels. Inside the shed
           the bellows groan in their frame
of blackbutt & mudbrick, the coal for the fire-

box lies scattered like shoddy talismans,
& the anvil sits sullenly, a dead lodestone.

Figures in a Paddock

In their wake the furrows,
partings in long grass,
burrs hell-darning their socks
like recovered memories.

Parallel to the fence – star pickets
mark depth, interlock mesh
letting the light and visuals
through, keeping the stock

in or out – like religious tolerance.
Down from the top-road to the creek,
arms akimbo, driven against
insect-noise, a breeze that should

be rustling up a performance.
Towards the dry bed, marked
by twists and shadow-skewed
river-gums, bark-texture

runs to colour like bad blood.
The sky is brittle blue,
foliage thin but determined:
colour indefinable beyond green.

They walk, and walking makes history.
And tracks. All machinery.
The paddock inclines. A ritual of gradients.
Ceremony. Massacre. Survey.

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