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.

White snow absent of
mind dusts,

absent of tree shadows
and raven wings.

White snow becomes the
moon filled river.

White snow becomes
the expanding horizon.

White snow becomes
what we bring, what we perceive.

An empty canvas, the empty field
becomes a blank page and the contents

of our full minds, the charged emotions
we carry become the objects strewn across the field.

The white snow is deceptive
and in the beauty we can become

distracted and lose sight
of our being our place in everything.

Like mind dusts they accumulate if
not cultivated and swept away.

Our being, our body, our minds
require maintenance and care.

Fields 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

(1)

Shining brilliantly through
grey fog hugging the soaked ground

the light I cannot see is there
in my mind, there in my eyes.

Fading snow cover reveals the field
I have been searching for

the field anchored by one lantern
surrounded by ten-thousand trees.

“Pick up the lantern and in the light
turn yourself around, inside out.

The true brilliance of the light
shows who you are, who you can be.”

Those words fill my mind as I walk
around the lantern from a distance.

(2)

Sporadic snowflakes fall as I make slow
passes in circles, ellipticals

as I pass closer and further
a game played out for years.

I do not know what I fear
I do not know what I fear.

The sky opens and the snow thickens
as the lantern glows brighter

a halo becomes the only beacon
in the darkened sky.

(3)

In order to see the lantern more clearly
I have to cut off the mind dust
collecting interfering thoughts and with
nothing, see everything.

Easy to say and nod in understanding
yet the mind fights fluctuations in the path,
chooses to resist and sends more fear
from the depths, from the past.

(4)

The moon mimics the lantern’s light
and for moments I lose the cardinal directions
blindly following false lights and
paths that lead nowhere.

Over the next hill the light
disappears into the shrinking forest.

(5)

I am clouded by doubt
as I continue to search.

What have we brought down
upon the earth.

The air is thick and heavy.
The empty sky is gone.