Homestead Elegy: a quintilla

A quarter mile back down the lane
paved with loose stone and bits of brick,
past three tall trees that still remain
after ten years almost the same,
though at their bases weeds grow thick,

a wood frame house, its paint in peel
and tin roof rusted rough and brown
still stands, though some would say it kneels
between the overgrown bean fields
and waits for time to knock it down.

The circle drive, worn deep with holes
from tractor wheels and rude snow plows,
runs from the lane to the light pole,
its path no longer clear and whole –
just where it leads, no one knows now.

Beyond the house, down the back hill
through waist-high weeds and long cat-tails.
a drainage culvert runs; it fills
to form a moat, brackish and chilled,
when the snow melts, and spring storms hail.

Before, this place was live and hale,
a stand against the world untamed –
its yards well-tended, hay grass baled;
was not the farm, but farmers failed,
and left the land to take the blame.

Now later, its old bones lay bare,
the marrow dried to dust and stain;
gone too, those who could point to where
among the wild weeds it sleeps there
a quarter mile back down the lane.

revised 26 APR 2004

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