The Stockyard in the Sky

With saddle grease on my trouser seat
And whiskers on my chin,
I’ve been 5 days in the saddle
And it’s time for turning in.

Rolling out my welcome swag
On a bed of springy grass,
I’ll rest my weary bones
And let the cool evening pass.

In the blue-black moonless sky
The stars are a magic sight,
Filling the darkest corner
With sparkling diamond light.

From the southern cross to orion
Along the milky way,
The landscape of the heavens
Reflects the mountain’s lay.

While the camping horses graze
About the open plains,
And send me on my dreaming ways
To the lilting rattle of hobble chains.

Now in the mists of my sleepy mind
A ghost horse comes to me,
“come ride with me to the milky way
Where the horses are running free.”

I see some horses in the dark
On the back roads of briagolong,
The striking steel shoes make a spark
On the quartz as they trot along.

The horses push to the river bank
Excited fearless and keen,
Then plunge to breast the water
And swim the flooded stream.

Now i give my horse his head
On a sunny high plains day,
To freely canter as he will
Across the pretty valley way.

We’re pushing through snow and flurries
It’s cold but we’re rugged and warm,
The horses push on regardless
To find a safe camp in the storm.

I can hear the silent ground
The buggers have gone from camp,
Are they grazing the snowgum scrub
Or homeward at a hobbled tramp.

The night-horse snorts all lonely
I ask him to find his mates,
As we swing along the starry path
Past the dream-maker’s gates.

The track is not scrubby or bushy
And my mount is all horses i’ve known,
The ground is not earth and rocky
We are searching for horses renowned.

Through the shadows and shafts of starlight
The legendary mob runs fast,
The good horses of kids and heroes
Have all gathered from the past.

They stand and call my night hack
To run the milky-way wood,
Follow their winding track
And find the home paddock for good.

We race onto orion’s sword
The wing fence that will show the way,
Out along the shinning ridge
To the stockyard in the sky.

The old books call it orion
It’s all in the beholders eye,
To others it’s just a saucepan
But i see the stockyard in the sky.

It’s where all the good horses go
When they leave this mortal land,
To the north of the milky-way scrub
The wing fence and stockyard stand.


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