The Fencers

WesterlyI’m not a poet, I don’t write poetry, well hardly ever. It’s outside my comfort zone so I don’t go there, much.

However this is quite a cool little story about a poem, an Island in the Indian Ocean most have never heard of and my Dad. There is also a poem so stick around.

If you read my stuff you’ll know I’m very proud to be descended from the Pioneers who built a life in New Zealand by hand. My Father was originally a farmer when I was growing up but for a handful of reasons outside his control due to economic conditions in the 80’s in New Zealand he found himself as a hill country fencer. Putting up miles and miles of stock fencing in the back blocks of New Zealand. Wild remote country far from civilisation. I worked with him from time to time when I was younger. The work was back-breaking and I didn’t have to do it very often. He did it every working day from the age of about 40 until he died aged 70. People cannot imagine that life these days. Only those that are still doing it can and they have much machinery to do a lot of the stuff now that Dad was doing by hand.

So last year I thought I might write a poem about the people like my Dad, the fencers. Nobody has written about the fencers before that I am aware of. Maybe I just haven’t looked in the right places. I was on Twitter one day and started throwing a few lines of poetry together, about fencers as tweets. Each one was a single verse. By the time I had finished my brief poem I decided that I continue not to be a poet and it was no good, so I deleted the tweets. The poem gone for good, unseen but by the few who may have been watching at the time.

Someone who was watching at the time was Jean-Paul Audouy on the Island of Reunion, off the coast of Southern Africa in the Indian Ocean. A French expatriate. Jean-Paul liked my poem apparently and took a screen shot of the tweets as I was going along. He sent me a document he had created with my poem and some images of fencers he had found on the internet. I think that’s amazing. The effort he took to make my poem look like something meaningful. I decided maybe it wasn’t so bad after all, so I’ll put it on here.

The poem goes like this…

They worked up on boundary lines, in mud and rock and shale.

It’s rough up there, the wind is cold, it blows a bloody gale.

The fencing gear, the wire and posts, all carted in by hand.

The men were hardy, tough and strong, fencing off the land.

They cut all through the rough terrain, in Tea-tree scrub and gorse.

They kept on going, dawn till dusk, sticking to the course.

They camped out on the boundary line with billy, smokes and gun.

It sounds alright, a way of life but it’s no bloody fun.

With a bit of luck a chopper came to lay the fencing gear.

If the weather’s in the laying out could take a bloody year.

The climb was harsh the landscape rough, the boundary unforgiving.

The fencers though, ‘til the job is done would never bloody give in.

We sing about the pioneers, the men who cleared the land

The foresters, the farmers, blokes who built a life by hand

No-one recalls the fencers though, who worked the boundary lines.

The hardy men out on the hills when it rains and when it shines

They never had the luxury of the big homestead or fire.

They divided up our nation’s farms with battens, posts and wire…

Distant snow

19 thoughts on “The Fencers

  1. MG KIWI

    Hey Sandyviews, Love the posts, very heart felt! Which brings me to a very disturbing article I read recently. As a very passionate and proud kiwi, I love all things New Zealand, I was very disturbed to read an article recently by a woman called Melissa Bachman. She is a hunter, the worst kind of hunter. A person that hunts for the blood lust, for the trophy, she revels with glee at the killing or wounding of animals, endangered animals, any animal. The article spoke of her time in NZ and how much she loves to hunt there. I am shocked and appalled that this woman was/is allowed into our beautiful country to slaughter our beloved wildlife. What are the immigration authorities thinking of by letting this woman into our country. Shame on you!!! Here is a link to her site. Watch for yourselves at the disgusting way she revels in the kill. This is not hunting, it’s animal slaughter http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL96B861D0B3128699

    I just want to make one thing clear, I’m not an anti-hunting campaigner, my family have hunted for generations but, and it’s a big BUT, for food only! This woman is slaughtering for lust and pleasure and I for one, never want her on NZ soil again!!! I’m sure most kiwis would be appalled that this woman is allowed into NZ!! All the best, mgkiwi! Date: Sun, 23 Feb 2014 01:35:27 +0000 To: mkgebbs@hotmail.com

  2. sandysview

    Thanks MG, I had discussed Ms Bachman in an earlier post called ‘people are Awesome’ Go and have a look. However she did nothing illegal here. Plenty of Kiwis hunt and not just for food. So I’m not sure there is much the immigration people can do. I don’t think we’ll see much of this young lady again though given the international condemnation of her behaviour.

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