Poem: Romance in the Ruins

Romance in the Ruins

Behind the Grange House is the barn.
Narrow and well worn.
Not a speck of paint remains on the clapboards.
The high pitched roof still strong,
only one or two slates lost to time.
Glassless windows stare out at the field.

You pause your journey. You go in.
Of course you do.
Such places are a siren song to you,
You have a need to know
what is left behind,
What had so little value
that it would be forsaken even when there were years
to restore, replace and take things of value.

You are always surprised. Always.
There is magic and wonder in the abandoned relics.
But then, you understand.
When people are done, they are done.
Gold becomes lead. A heavy weight
too heavy to carry.

It is embarrassing the trinkets you often pick up
off dirty dung-covered floors.
but these things will survive their abandonment.
You will brush away the dirt and rust.
You will polish the metal, restore the dry wood.
That is what you do, a craft you carry in your soul.
Memories you carry with you as you too, leave,
not of what was, but what could have been.

About this poem

I love restoration work, My father taught it to me and it (unlike other things he hoped to teach me.) stuck. I (as most of you know) have a weakness for old, long abandoned buildings.

Like most of my restoration poems, it’s as much as about people as the things I write about. Sooner or later, most of us need a time of restoration.

The picture is of a small barn in North Pawlet that is behind the also-abandoned Grange House. For those of you not from rural areas, or not from the U.S., The Grange was a once powerful organization that supported farmers and farm life. Now, it is a shell of itself. Like the barn.

Tom

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