Doggerel

OWED TO THE CABIN

Once there was a field
where for months and years the wind blew
the sun shone and birds flew
rains passed and grass grew
then one day the wind changed and who knew
but an ambitious pair had plans too

From far afield they’d sought their spot
and appeared one day to claim their plot
(and oh my gosh what a plot they got)
but a house they’d not
and not long after the sun got hot
and a bakkie appeared with some wood they’d brought

The wood was good and arranged in a way
that a qualified team might erect into, say,
a cabin, or shed, and so both were made
just as the daylight was starting to fade

Bare floors and bare walls, roof, windows and door
a sink (with no water) and nothing much more
the first few nights the pair shivered and shook
as the cold winds blew in every cranny and nook

But the comforts soon came, all one could ask
stove, dresser, and fridge – now that was a task
hot showers outdoors in all of our glory
and internet linkage to broadcast our story
a big comfy bed so we didn’t sleep rough
while the shed was stuffed with the rest of our stuff

The final touch, that the winds did require
was to nail it down tight with heavy steel wire
the thin walls let in the wind, but kept out the rain
(unless horizontal), then it leaked through the pane

And the local fauna, what about that?
a mouse, or two, and errant bat
just visits from the littl’er ones
and millipedes, in milli-ons
the owls laughed a taunting hoo-hoo
when we braved the night chill and ran to the loo

But plans were approved and building begun
the cabin now HQ, from which things were run
the land was tore up, and levelled out flat
we watched from our stoop, where in mornings we sat
looking hopefully east, where the house would be going
where one day we’d harvest the seeds we’d been sowing

Christmas with kids was a little too tight
so Andrew was kicked out, night after night
banished not far off, just to the shed
while the other three shared that big comfy bed
but we found place for all, and for everything
while Kogie cooked meals that were fit for a king

Though internet dodgy, the payments went through
so more trucks arrived, and carpenters too
columns were raised, and poles put in place
sunk deep down in concrete because, just in case,
the wind knocked them down without any warning
we looked nervously east first thing every morning

Once the poles had weathered the gales
a new team arrived, to start with the bales
soon straw was strewn both this way and that
and raised into walls a half-metre fat

The roof too was raised, both girders and trusses
a feat in itself, but done without fusses
we looked east in amazement; and now did we know
the cabin’s big brother was starting to grow

Easter alone, so I held the fort
I cooked, fetched the team, and things of that sort
but shortly thereafter she returned from out east
and brought back a doggie, a cute little beast
named Bruno, our babba, and now we were three
looking doggedly east where his kennel would be

The cabin was kitchen for five months, I’d say
our one-burner stove did three meals a day
grease splattered floor-ward and up on the walls
shake the ants from the sugar, if the omelette falls,
it’s Bruno’s, who gulps it without thanks or grace
I always made extra so that he stuffed his face
as time carried on we looked hungrily east
to our burgeoning house where the work never ceased.

Then winter, the scariest time in the Cape
when the winds blew the cabin into a new shape
or tried to, at least, while the house stood up strong,
the days were too short and the nights were too long
in jersey and cap – may I make a confession?
showering outside was at ones own discretion
I looked worriedly east and quite often would get
alarmed at the thought of our house getting wet.

But at last it happened, we made the great leap
and moved to the big house where one could now sleep
in a room of ones own, with enough space to think,
and not have to share it with fridge and with sink
But I miss the dear cabin, lest you might detect
a note of sarcasm, ’cause in retrospect

It was a simple life, and healthy milieu
we set with the sun, and rose with it too
and all we really lacked, on mornings of a degree or two
was a heated toilet seat inside our outside loo

Our first home, our tiny enclosure of space
where so much happened, in such a small place
now when we look, we look wistfully west
at our cabin in the field,
where the swallows now nest.

 


 

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