Rewrite of a poem from 5-years ago along with a new photo.


The Old Barn

An old abandoned barn lies on the east side of town, at the end
of Baker’s road, where the tar abruptly changes to gravel, dusty this
time of year as rain has been scarce and the crops are wilting.

Coming up the driveway, a neglected John Deere
greets you with rust and smeared green paint, revealing the steel machine
underneath, a workhorse in the fields, taking stalk after stalk

from the earth, a bounty each year for the family with hopes
of selling a few bushels at the market on main street.
That is the past now, rain has not visited, people have

not visited, a once lush yard, crunches beneath my feet
impending fire permeates the air, timber from the fence
I built last summer, blown apart by that storm, a tricycle

faded blue kids pool, half a tire, a 1938 Studebaker
– how I would still like to restore that – and a menagerie of
other things are carelessly strewn about near the for sale sign.

I remember the winters spent in front of the potbelly stove,
a wool blanket for one stretched to two –
whose turn is it to fetch a few more logs, the flame is getting low.

One last trip to the barn, the scent hangs in the air,
you may still be here, but I do not hear any voices
as the fire takes hold and ashes replace hay bales.

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A quiet evening as the dust settles
and chaos is held at bay,
watching the sunset
with nature’s creatures.

Simple.

These moments defining a life
provide peace and a bit of
knowledge grounding our place
to and within the world.

New poem from the “Beyond” series.


I awake covered in red dust
after the storm passed.

In the depths of the crater
the sun shone dimly over the edge.

I see you left without me
moving beyond the fractured surface.

There is no blame.
There is now only me.

Beyond the mountains
the sun rises on a new day.

Surrounded by unnamed peaks,
unclimbed by humans, I head off into the void.

Thoughts and memories buried deep
in our minds originating from time so long ago
and across vast distances we become lost in the
numbers and mathematics, but the light and energy
is seared and imprinted like a birthmark of unknown origin.

And we may not know or discover this deep knowledge and history
until some external stimuli, perhaps a sight, a smell, or music, burrows
into the locked portals and brings to light the shadows grounding
our origins to this place and beyond.

Against an evening sunset
and blue backdrop a pair of ravens
circle, descend, and ascend a last time
before landing in pine trees beginning to green
as the last holds of winter give.

Clinging to limbs as the winds
arrive in gusts from across the lake
they call to others a few trees over
and we watch this conversation take place.

April sunrise over the calm water
a slow dance of light across the surface.
this path now appearing after minutes lost in the
subtle voice of nature opens a watery
light encased portal that is my chance to leave this world.

I imagine one his photographs might look like this:

Given the current conflicts across this land and the earth, this timeless poem from the late John Haines conveys the words I have no voice for.


How strange to think of those street
sand vacant lots, the sandhills
where we played and dug our trenches;
the forts we built, the enemies
we conjured to aim our stick-guns at,
and then went home at evening,
to victory, to safety and sleep.

And now the vast acres of rubble,
the pitched and roofless houses,
upended stonework and sunken bridges.
The dog-packs roaming, digging,
for the one still-unclaimed victim;
the stray sniper aiming at dusk,
and in the roadside fields,
flowers that explode when picked.

The children wandering from one
burned suburb to another,
seeking that which no longer exists:
a neighborhood, a playing field,
a wading pool or a standing swing;
for a kite to fly, a ball to throw,
or just one pigeon to stone.

And through all this haunted vacancy,
from cellars and pits of sand,
come and go as on a fitful wind
such whispers, taunts and pleadings:
the scolding voices of dead parents,
the lessons of teachers no longer
standing, whose classrooms
are blown to ash and smoky air.

And far-off, unheard beyond the drone
of a single hovering aircraft –
in Paris, Zurich, Prague, or London,
the murmur of convening statesmen.


From:
For the Century’s End
Poems 1990—1999
by John Haines
Seattle and London: University of Washington Press.

We walk across ths snowy fields
a chance meeting yet we always
knew this day would arrive.

I do not know your face
from dreams of a spirit
walking between tall trees,
always obscured and hidden.

But with the song playing out
here between each snowflake.
I know it is you.

Imagine what life would be from this moment forward if we moved away from the chatter and negativity our mind is swimming within and realize we are born from the stars, that all life on this planet is born from the same material and roots, and that we each have a purpose.

Imagine what tomorrow would bring if in the moment now we changed our thoughts, our preconceived notions, our anger, our fear, our angst.

Our life would change instantly in that moment. And so too those immediately around us, and within our sphere of influence. And tomorrow as we venture out and interact with others the momentum continues as our approach and voice has become calmer and we have gained a deeper understanding as we are all born from the stars.

In that moment, we move to the other path and it will not be easy, and it will take time. The experiences, habits, and thoughts that pushed us here and now, must be removed from the mind, held in the light of sun and moon, and reexamined. With honesty we take a close look at ourselves and choose what to keep and what to discard, making room for the new pieces of us that we vow to take back into the world.

This process, a self-reflection fracturing, allows the fragments to realign and grants us the opportunity rebuild our self into the being we want to be, into the being shedding burdens and making the best of the time we have left. Setting the stage for a return and a rebirth carrying with us the experiences bathed in a new mindset, a new view of the world, opening the door to ascend from the empty fields and onto the next level.