mid-day poem, march 16, 2015

Those seven acres at the end of my street

Were the remnants of a farm.

The trimmed lawns of the last houses

Abutted wild growth

A wall of hickory and sycamore and beneath that

Sumac sunk in waved canopies of grapevines and honeysuckle.


It never occured to me to consider why that land was never cleared

The woods were always there, just like the houses

The same, everyday of my life; I never wondered why.


I roamed deeply there and discovered

Evidence of deliberate use, generations ago

A rusted hook and chain wrapped around an oak

Its links thick as a child’s finger

Now nearly swallowed by the expanding trunk

I tried to imagine some use for it

Is this where they hung the hogs or steers after slaughter?


On one side of the hill there had been an orchard

Raggedy, dwarfed apple trees

Still here and there, some semblance in places

Of the original lines.

And between them thick brambles

Where the Brown Thrashers lived in that day

Calling wildly to the night and to each other

In a tongue that is no longer heard.

Copyright 2015



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