like moving heaven and hell,
and moving machines bigger than your dreams
and heavier than your nightmares.
Driving big trucks, doubles, semis, tankers,
too big for the roads now,
dodging slow cars, tractors, bike riders
and hardest of all, wildlife.
Baling stock feed.
Big men in full view
Big men with big hands
barging through with speed and skill.
On Sundays holding their little girl’s hand
at the Daylesford market.
More thought than words
Observing at computer speed.
Their experience begun at birth
at their fathers’ feet.
Licensed in one trade
but skilled in them all.
Princes of their domain
with measured opinions
laid out in straight lines,
fitting in and melting
from public gaze.
Leaving my bedroom window open at night
I get cold in winter.
But l hear the boobook owl from down at the river,
the wind in the giant eucalypts,
the possum on my roof,
the cat on my veranda,
and the sheep-truck dog barking
as his cargo rattles through town.
In the morning I hear my chickens
asking to be let out,
the school children chattering
onto the bus,
while every truck sound
paints its own portrait in my mind.
I wish for the hardiness
to walk outside on more of those frosty nights
and look at the full moon and clouds
and really know what it is to live in these highlands.
Tom Perfect is a retired secondary school teacher and a member of the Daylesford Poetry Group. He lives on the Daylesford-Malmsbury Road at Glenlyon.