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Tom Barker
Joondalup, Australia

Down on the Farm was a tractor,
invented by Henry Ford.
Each time Dad went to start it,
he removed his hat and prayed to the Lord.

But sometimes the tractor back fired,
'cos the mixture was too rich.
And Dad sometimes found himself,
crawling out of a near muddy ditch.

Sometimes Farmer would accost Dad,
first thing at dawns early light.
And Dad could not persuade Farmer,
though he tried with all his might.

"Ah'd just as soon tek 'ossis
tu ploo yon waste bit o' land."
But Farmer insisted Dad take the Ford,
and shook my Dad by the hand.

"Ah'l see tha' gets a bonus Charlie."
said Farmer with a wry smile,
"Should yon tractor brek thee wrist,
ah'll cum an' visit thee fer a while."

Farmer got into his motey car,
while my Dad stood still there mute.
fortunately the Farmer did not see,
my Dad's only one finger salute.

The starting handle was always hidden,
beneath some bales of moulding hay.
'Cos app'n in the county of Lincolnshire,
Gypsies were wont to prey.

They preyed in folk's back gardens,
usually when the folk were out.
Eggs and chickens went missing,
so did home made pickles, jams and stout.

Gypsies made all their own clothes pegs,
and sold them round the town.
Only trouble was they use to nick,
anything that was not nailed down.

So Dad approached the tractor,
with the bent handle in his hand.
And feeling for the hole at front,
he engaged the cogs, as Ford planned.

Then pulling ever so gently,
he felt for the piston compression.
Then switching in the magneto,
he pulled with great aggression.

With a bang, suddenly a flame shot out,
somewhere out the back,
and one of the other blokes nearby
shouted, "Ayeup, Charlie! Tha's just lit up yon stack!"

But Dad was face down in the crew yard,
wearing a cow flap green and yeller
And the starting handle was still spinning,
like a Tiger Moth's wooden propeller.

But sure enough a stack was lit,
and as the flames leapt higher.
The bloke said, "Charlie, git thee lunch,
an' go toast it by yon' fire."

Farmer screamed, "Get that ruddy fire oot,
or we'll have no chuffin' Farm!"
and glaring up towards me Dad,
I thought he was going to do him harm.

Dad finally ploughed that bit o' land wi' 'ossis,
who gave notice wi' tails afore they s--t.
Not like a temperamental Ford tractor,
that should be dropped in tae a watter-filled pit.

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