March 2022

Back to Issue 11

The Stick Shed of Murtoa

By Brendan Ryan

We wander into darkness by a side entrance

someone’s bike leans against a wall. It is the hush

that greets me, of people lowering their voices in a cathedral.

Rectangles of light stretch in perspective along the roof.

Lines of mountain ash poles recede into shadow.

Steel cables anchor the poles like in an Escher sketch.

Between each line of poles is an avenue

of concrete, scrubbed as the flagstones of Notre-Dame.

I walk between rows of unmilled poles subdued

by what people could build in 1941-

a tin shed 265 metres in length, monument

to working lives beside silo and rail line.

An older man leans back with his phone

to capture the height, the way the poles rise

as sentinels to the roof’s darkened trusses.

Next it’s a selfie with his mates

grinning up into the light, shaking their heads

at what an empty grain shed can make you do.