Poem: Jericho of the Soul
A barn in a field. Well worn. No paint.
The metal roof is rusted.
Come closer and you can see rot on the clapboards,
more rust on the hinges.
And yet, every day the cows come and go
from it’s broad doorway.
Every day, bales of hay are unloaded
from the attic and animals are fed.
Every day, it is far from a relic.
It is a living thing, still capable
despite it’s flaws, of doing good work,
capable of protection.
The building’s bones are good. The roof does not sag.
Every angle is still square and strong.
It is a testament to the builder’s hard work
and attention to the simple details
that despite two generations of neglect,
the barn still stands.
But you know the cost of neglect.
It is a slow killer.
Another generation and the walls will begin to fray.
The rust will finish its work.
The roof will fail.
It has been measured..
Each year we lose a barn a day here in rural Vermont.
Neglected to death, each one of them.
Worked without respite
until the good bones become brittle,
and like Jericho, the walls fall down.
They become rubble. A bonfire. A sadness
that did not have to happen.
About this poem.
About barns. About how we tend to neglect ourselves. If you don’t know the story of Jericho, you can read about it here.
The picture was taken in nearby Hebron, NY.