A Matter of Perspective

barn

 

Hewn timbers weathered by timeless winds
Stand naked against a pastel sky,
Skeletal remains of a broken barn
Too tired to live and too proud to die.

Grey, peeling shingles that shed like skin
Are strewn against stones in a family plot,
Five dark slabs leaning into the shadows,
Moss-drab marks on a weedy lot.

Nesting birds sit dotting the rafters
With dropping feathers and lilting song,
Barn swallows don’t mind the lack of a roof,
They don’t dread the night that lasts too long.

Hollyhocks nod at a barnyard gate
That is hinged on the mood of the wind,
On blustery days it sways with a squeak,
On calm ones, it tilts upright again.

To some this scene is desolation,
A story of defeat and sorrow,
But to singing birds and nodding flowers,
It’s just today, and then tomorrow.

6 comments

  1. Hi Sarah

    One of my new favorites by you!! I love the picture and totally agree with the perspective! There is life in the ruins, the spirit of nature reviving a season with its presence in birds and growing vines, the flowers nodding in the wind. There is hope in the midst of fading timbers and torn rafters. I love the lyrical rhythm in this piece and the details. I am there; and I remember barns like this back east and always so haunting and rife with the animation of nature and the observer’s thoughts.

    Nesting birds sit dotting the rafters
    With dropping feathers and lilting song,
    Barn swallows don’t mind the lack of a roof,
    They don’t dread the night that lasts too long.

    Hollyhocks nod at a barnyard gate
    That is hinged on the mood of the wind,
    On blustery days it sways with a squeak,
    On calm ones, it tilts upright again.

    Thank you for sharing,
    so lovely!
    Wendy

    Like

  2. Wendy,

    My thanks to you! I saw that picture and knew I had to revive this old poem.
    A few changes from the original…I’m so glad you found it appealing. I’m not
    sure whose picture that is, I found it in google images, and I am ever grateful
    to its owner.

    Sarah

    Like

  3. After the barn has served its purpose
    for the humans, there is still a place of comfort
    for the birds,
    a place that helps perpetuate the song.

    Much enjoyed.
    take care,
    Kerri

    Like

  4. Sarah

    I love the matter-of-fact-ness of “To some this scene is desolation, / A story of defeat and sorrow, / But to singing birds and nodding flowers, / It’s just today, and then tomorrow.”

    After a little suite of unities (“naked against a pastel sky”, “peeling shingles that shed like skin”) that hint at a deathward trajectory, it’s the understatement that packs the final punch …

    … and yet which feels like more of a joy than a sorrow.

    Much enjoyed,

    Mark.

    Like

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