Current Magazine

A Story About Boots

By Hakamike @hakamike
The Old Boots, the New Boots and Boot Poems
A Story About Boots
These are my old boots, they're retired now. They hang by their laces from the back porch light switch. Spiders live in them. I keep useful things in them. My long pruning shears, some light machine oil, some insect repellent.
These boots are the boots I explored the New Zealand South Island high country in. These are the boots I wore when the young bloke and I climbed Mount Stavely. They have seen the summit of the Torlesse Range, Mount Thomas and others whose names I no longer remember or never knew.
These boots are made of high tech gore tex and heavy suede leather with wool felt and dacron liners. The soles were some high tech modern composite poly material and the bootmakers in Christchurch couldn't resole them for me when they wore down which is a shame. 
They have trodden snow, ice, scree slopes and greywhackle boulders. They have waded in a hundred different back country streams and a fair share of the mighty braided rivers on the East Coast of the South Island. They tramped most of Banks Peninsula in summer and winter. They squelched through ice and mud over on the West Coast where it rains and snows most of the time and sunshine is rare in the temperate rainforests.
They were good boots, the tread is all worn out, and the right boot is missing half it's sole now and there is a hole there to let the water out when I went fishing.
A Story About Boots
These are my new boots. They're made for the outback. Calf high heavy leather to reduce the chance of  snakes getting hold of me. A raised instep and good solid heels to give me a firm foothold in the stirrups. Good boots for putting my feet up in. New enough and dressy enough to wear out to see a band play. Good guitar playing boots. Comfortable enough to wear all day long in summer out in the scrub. Preferred attire for rodeo's and campsites. Fishing sitting in a folding chair in the shade of an old man red gum on the banks of the Darling will work in these boots. 
I got them on sale at Outback Whips and Leather here in Broken Hill, I've been wanting boots like these for the last two or three years but I didn't mind waiting till I could afford them. I hope when they wear out I can tell a good story or two about them.
Boots in Poetry:

The Boss's Boots

The Shearers squint along the pens, they squint along the ‘shoots;’
The shearers squint along the board to catch the Boss’s boots;
They have no time to straighten up, they have no time to stare,
But when the Boss is looking on, they like to be aware.
The ‘rouser’ has no soul to save. Condemn the rouseabout!
And sling ’em in, and rip ’em through, and get the bell-sheep out ;
And skim it by the tips at times, or take it with the roots—
But ‘pink’ ’em nice and pretty when you see the Boss’s boots.
The shearing super sprained his foot, as bosses sometimes do—
And wore, until the shed cut out, one ‘side-spring’ and one shoe;
And though he changed his pants at times—some worn-out and some neat—
No ‘tiger’ there could possibly mistake the Boss’s feet.
The Boss affected larger boots than many Western men,
And Jim the Ringer swore the shoe was half as big again;
And tigers might have heard the boss ere any harm was done—
For when he passed it was a sort of dot and carry one.
But now there comes a picker-up who sprained his ankle, too,
And limping round the shed he found the Boss’s cast-off shoe.
He went to work, all legs and arms, as green-hand rousers will,
And never dreamed of Boss’s boots—much less of Bogan Bill.
Ye sons of sin that tramp and shear in hot and dusty scrubs,
Just keep away from ‘headin’ ’em,’ and keep away from pubs,
And keep away from handicaps—for so your sugar scoots—
And you may own a station yet and wear the Boss’s boots.
And Bogan by his mate was heard to mutter through his hair:
‘The Boss has got a rat to-day: he’s buckin’ everywhere—
‘He’s trainin’ for a bike, I think, the way he comes an’ scoots,
‘He’s like a bloomin’ cat on mud the way he shifts his boots.’
Now Bogan Bill was shearing rough and chanced to cut a teat ;
He stuck his leg in front at once, and slewed the ewe a bit;
He hurried up to get her through, when, close beside his shoot,
He saw a large and ancient shoe, in mateship with a boot.
He thought that he’d be fined all right—he couldn’t turn the ‘yoe;’
The more he wished the boss away, the more he wouldn’t go;
And Bogan swore amenfully—beneath his breath he swore—
And he was never known to ‘pink’ so prettily before.
And Bogan through his bristling scalp in his mind’s eye could trace,
The cold, sarcastic smile that lurked about the Boss’s face;
He cursed him with a silent curse in language known to few,
He cursed him from his boot right up, and then down to his shoe.
But while he shore so mighty clean, and while he screened the teat,
He fancied there was something wrong about the Boss’s feet:
The boot grew unfamiliar, and the odd shoe seemed awry,
And slowly up the trouser went the tail of Bogan’s eye,
Then swiftly to the features from a plaited green-hide belt—
You’d have to ring a shed or two to feel as Bogan felt—
For ’twas his green-hand picker-up (who wore a vacant look),
And Bogan saw the Boss outside consulting with his cook.
And Bogan Bill was hurt and mad to see that rouseabout
And Bogan laid his ‘Wolseley’ down and knocked that rouser out;
He knocked him right across the board, he tumbled through the shoot—
‘I’ll learn the fool,’ said Bogan Bill, ‘to flash the Boss’s boot!’
The rouser squints along the pens, he squints along the shoots,
And gives his men the office when they miss the Boss’s boots.
They have no time to straighten up, they’re too well-bred to stare,
But when the Boss is looking on they like to be aware.
The rouser has no soul to lose—it’s blarst the rouseabout!
And rip ’em through and yell for ‘tar’ and get the bell-sheep out,
And take it with the scum at times or take it with the roots,—
But ‘pink’ ’em nice and pretty when you see the Boss’s boots.  Henry Lawson
Antique BootsBy Clark CrouchIt was just some cowboy boots,
not much as antiques go,
but they was right there on sale
at the mall's antique show.
They was badly scarred and worn...
the price was very low...
and they was toward the back
sorta hidden, you know.
It made you sorta wonder
just where they'd been and all...
just where they'd trod and wandered
that brought them to that stall.
If only them boots could talk
about life on the range
it'd be fascinating
and maybe somewhat strange.
But answers are locked away
we'll never hear the tale
of how them boots came to be
there in an antique sale.
Anyhow, I bought them boots
and took them home with me
as a tribute to the days
of when the west was free.
They now sit upon the hearth
on permanent display
given a place of honor
and pondered on each day.
Clark Crouch© All rights reserved.


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