I have always loved this room under the loft,
between the cow house and stable, though
I don’t know why. Is it the swallow’s nest high
in the rafters among cobwebbed hayforks,
bridle and saddle, slane and sickle?
The wire-meshed sunlight on lime-washed walls,
slash hooks and scythes, the rusted biscuit tins
of clout and stud nails on a sagging shelf
with a curry comb and a broken bicycle chain,
the smells of grease and oil, petrol and paint,
the slab stone floor, softened by layers of dirt and dust,
or that here’s where they’d hitch two carthorses
to the binder, a pony to the trap?
Is it a love for the naming of things; the clippers
and shears, the grape and the rake stacked at the hearth
with shovels and spades, a crowbar,
a sledgehammer, a handsaw, a band saw, an axe?
Is it the cycles of life it held and still holds;
the tattered coat on a hook by the half-door, the bucket
of beastings, infrared lamp, the can of crimson paint
and C-shaped brand for the furrowed skin of newborn lambs.
Or is it because it was here we’d find him when my mother
sent us to call him for his tea; at the workbench he made
from creosoted railway sleepers, strewn with rasp, file
and whetstone, vice-grip, chisel and wrench?