A Farmer’s Shed

by Zenei


There can’t be a greater sin than breaking into a farmer’s shed.

A tattered hut built from collected and begged scraps,

Made to stand on salvaged, old but reliable poles of timber,

cut open oil tin cans nailed to unwanted planks for walls.

For the roof, tin with the least holes sometimes bought

for a meagre amount. The only thing worth investing on.

This hut is the heart of the field, disguised by trees and rust,

the intent always to draw as little attention as possible.



Inside the hut is a little fireplace which is smoked the moment

the owner arrives to chase away insects or bigger creatures.

Logs serve as seats and the mud floor either gets a new coat

or loses a coating very time somebody walks in. There is a

deck made with bamboo or lighter wood. Not nailed, just tied

or balanced. Nails are for hanging baskets, bags and clothes.

The deck is for drying seeds, storing farming tools and other such

precious belongings that can’t be risked on the ground.



A farmer worries for his shed while lying on his comfortable

bed at night. If for some reasons, he hadn’t been able to visit,

he would ask his neighbors to have a look at it. He knows what

he had left there, how many grams of rice, how many spoons

of sugar, and how many pinches of salt. If any had been moved,

he’d know. He sits on the log outside sipping on tea or water,

hopeful or troubled by the conditions that year, thinking of family

and life, then he picks up his spade and step into the muddy water.



The little garden behind the cottage serves him as well as his shed.

Chilis, tomato, garlic, ginger and green leaves, what else is needed?

They remain long after the seasonal vegetables and fruits expire.

The best produce is always taken home while the last ones are

preserved for seeds. The farmer traditionally devote some time

to this plot and show love to his fruits trees and his banana grove.

When he hears somebody shouting, “Take a break!”, he would shout

back gratefully to his caring neighbors, “OK. I am taking rest.”



As the birds return to their nests and the cicadas start singing,

he washes his pots and working clothes and hang them inside.

He buries the burning wood under the ashes and places some

wet ones next to the fireplace to keep them dry for his next visit.

He inspects if everything has been brought in to safety and notes

what he will need to bring next time. He shuts the door and pushes

a rock at the foot and then leans timber against it. Whoever tries

to open is cursed but these days, thieves aren’t even scared of that.


(Posted on ZeneifromKohima)


5 Comments to “A Farmer’s Shed”

  1. A man has got to have a shed
    To be alone to sit and think
    Have a smoke and a drink
    or to just tinker with his tools.

    You have described a mans shed down to all the nuts and bolts, well done.
    Cheers, Kev

  2. A great poem. How beautifully each verse describes him.

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