Carluke High School: Kenneth Rieley

 

 

Father

Cold, windy. A fine mist of rain sweeps
through the trees, soaking everything it
comes in contact with. Glinting water
droplets hang from the gutter for a few
seconds before releasing and racing to
the ground.

There a lonely, broken and battered
wheelbarrow lays slumped, upside-down,
providing shelter for the pile of cracked
bricks, stone and whatever lives
amongst them.

An old yellow cement mixer stands by,
covered by a blue coloured tarp, waiting
for an opportunity to fulfil its purpose.

Through the mist; underneath a mass
of trees which stretch far into the
distance, is a large white house
belching thick black smoke from
Its chimney.

It is silent, peaceful. From this
silence, a man emerges from
the house through the dark
coloured door.

The man is wearing an old
torn blue jacket. His pockets
are bulging, filled with a variety
of items: nails—big and small, screws,
screwdrivers, of various sizes, solder
wire from his work, insulating tape—
some of which covering his wounded
finger, loose change and so on!

He closes the door behind him and
makes his way towards the fence. Steel toe-cap
boots, heavy, scraping across the stone path as he
moves closer to the road.

The man whistles an unknown song as he reaches
for his hammer, old, experienced and
spotted with rust in places.

His rough leathery hands grasp the handle with
a firm grip and he begins to drive the nails into
The wood. Red faced, sweaty palms with every
smooth motion of his arm, accurately smacking
the head of the nail repeatedly until he is ready
to move on.

The wind whistles past his ears accompanied
by the continuous drone of his hammer. The man
stops for a moment and begins to catch his breath.
While wiping the sweat and rainwater from his brow
he reaches for his bottle of Iron Brew. The glass bottle
scrapes along the surface of the coal bunker as he pulls the
sparkling orange container towards him.

He rests against the fence while taking a satisfying
swig of the fizzy brew.
“Ah!”
His fingers begin spinning the blue lid while he
licks the fizzy orange bubbles from his moustache.

The pine ranch style fence stretches far into the distance.
An infinite journey. A journey that has no beginning
and no end. The man sits quietly, the smell of Iron Brew
still in his breath. While rolling the hammer between
his wearying hands he wonders if his work will ever be complete.

The sky darkens, and the rain ceases. An unsettling silence
arrives as the wind stops suddenly. The tree branches
are steadily hovering above the large white house. From the
unsettling silence, a single crow’s caw travels across the
blackened sky. The man has gone now leaving only his
skilled hammer laying beside his lonely, broken and battered
wheelbarrow.


by Kenneth Rieley