Daily Archives: April 14, 2004

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

Simplicity: an englyn cyrch

Simple things make me content:
knowing where my money’s spent,
poems written, letters sent,
feeling good the rent’s been paid,
evenings without things to do,
working ’til the work is through,
reading a good book or two
‘neath a tree’s new morning shade.

Children play along the walk,
neighbors come to sit and talk,
flowers bloom along the block:
roses, phlox and marigolds.
No advantage to be sought,
Only groceries to be bought;
Smiling at the others, caught
where I too once was so bold.

Day turns into night again,
phone calls come from kin and friends;
happiness for me, depends
on how I spend such days.
Simple, yes, but never stale,
these nothings make grand things pale:
seasons changing without fail,
the thin veil of nature’s ways.

Offered more, I would refuse;
Lest by chance, this life I’d lose.
Let it humor or amuse
society – I don’t mind.
I will walk by my own path;
that shall be my epitaph;
Let those who’ll grieve on my behalf
keep laughter and I entwined.

Simple things, like life and mirth.
These are treasures of great worth,
pleasures of our time on earth
that nurse our souls to health.
Money, fame and power, too –
all will fade when life is through;
what remains, and stays as true
defines what you have as wealth.

14 APR 2004