Every year we promote sustainability through a sponsored category at the bush poetry competition. Entries come from around Australia and are shared at the Kangaroo Valley Folk Festival. Our theme for this year ‘Hand Made verse Mass Made’ supports our World Responsible Tourism Day campaign ‘Local Is Best’.
Winning poets received two nights accommodation. Poems are published and shared with guests.
What is Best. By John Davis
On my bed there is today my blanket of 60 years
It’s kept me warm on freezing nights tucked up around my ears.
My Grandma wove that blanket in nineteen forty seven
A special gift it was for me when I was just eleven.
She spun the wool from a crossbred fleece that my granddad shore
Then wove it on a loom that measured seven foot by four.
Grandma bound the blanket with a border of finest silk
And the finished product was the colour of creamy milk.
Over the years I matched it with other “commercial brands”
Many manufactured locally, some from other lands.
The “commercial brands” all wore out, replaced as time passed by
But on my Grandma’s blanket I can still rely.
My Grandma used to say “we should strive to support ourselves”
So she had a larder and the larder had many shelves
And all the shelves were laden with preserves of jams and fruit
And bacon hung from the ceiling in bags of laundered jut.
Granddad built a smokehouse where he cured the sides of bacon
And plump hams, he’d fill it up ‘till all the space was taken.
He had a special shed to store pumpkins that he grew
Spuds and onions and salted beans and bags of dried peas too.
Granddad always milked some cows in the cow bail by the stream
Then he’d separate the milk and make butter with the cream.
Grandma was an excellent cook and Granddad often said
No baker in the land could hold a candle to her bread.
Our family’s dining table is highly polished wood
Made by my Granddad’s father and I’ve always understood
That he created the table in eighteen ninety three
And the timber that he used was hewn from a cedar tree.
The legs were carved an ornate and all were perfectly matched
And it stook square and solid with joining rails and top attached.
The rails were mortised and tenoned, the plank top tongued and grooved
And even after all these years no joint has shrunk or moved.
There are several handmade chairs and they are matching too,
Placed around the dining table and still as good as new.
Also there’s a sideboard for the crockery, forks and knives
And all that handmade furniture has been there all our lives.
If you’ve never eaten bacon cured in iron bark smoke
Or tasted wild bee’s honey gathered from flowering oak.
Enjoyed handmade butter spread on the freshest handmade bread
(But you’ve had plenty mass produced with margarine instead)
If you’ve never tasted milk, fresh and sweet straight from the cow
There’s very little hope that you’ll ever taste them now.
For food today is supplied in plastic bottles, wraps and tin
And chemicals are used to put artificial flavour in.
Furniture now is mass –produced, that’s something we all know
And time will show that it won’t last like handmade of long ago.
So with just these few examples I am very much afraid
Mass-produced products cannot complete with those that are handmade.