Rustyard - Poem by Patti Masterman
Looking around at acres of old cars, old ploughs,
old washing machines, old everything,
He said that his dad had been a collector, and that
he must been in love with rust, most of all;
Traveling miles each week, to pack home the
Old road graders, once pulled by teams of horses,
In every conceivable style, Victrolas, old fire trucks,
Rows of rust-covered, classic trucks and chassis’;
The early models even I remember,
the clanking noises of my Dad’s ancient truck,
the shifting of its gears conferred with a comfortingly loud noise,
as if to emphasize that those mysterious knobs on the floor
indeed had a purpose,
even if it was invisible to me, a child.
This yard is non-odorous, washed clean repeatedly
by sun and dew and rain, sanitizing the miles
of rusting metal and rusted gears and camshafts,
Old workhorses retired, still with evidences of their labor years,
like large bumpers welded on, bearing huge hooks,
Perhaps to straighten a fence, or hold a roped beam firm,
Or to prod the reticent bull into a trailer or paddock.
We can only imagine what tasks they were entrusted,
There are few human signs left now; the mostly rotted seats
With a bit of burlap or batting, lying tattered amongst the springs,
While weeds and grass slowly overtake, gaining a little each year-
Even a huge tree rooting itself up through an open hood,
Fit for the cover of a magazine, about the future of the auto industry.
If machines had souls, would these feel unloved, cast away, used up,
Standing as mere monuments of other times, most of them antique
And the slow turning of most of them, to the rusty colors of time’s handiwork.
As if the old blood of our ingenuity were quietly being inbred with the ground
and dust, now that their work lives are done,
These penniless pensioners scarcely worth the metal they were made from-
But in defiance still, they won’t fall down.
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