Old Farms, Abandoned

March 23, 2015

Abandoned farmhouse with swing set

Abandoned farmhouse with swing set

Window, abandoned farmhouse

Window, abandoned farmhouse

Steps to cellar

Steps to cellar

Barn ruin

Barn ruin

 

“Abandoned Farmhouse”
by Ted Kooser, from Flying at Night: Poems 1965 – 1985

He was a big man, says the size of his shoes
on a pile of broken dishes by the house;
a tall man too, says the length of the bed
in an upstairs room; and a good, God-fearing man,
says the Bible with a broken back
on the floor below the window, dusty with sun;
but not a man for farming, say the fields
cluttered with boulders and the leaky barn.

A woman lived with him, says the bedroom wall
papered with lilacs and kitchen shelves
covered with oilcloth, and they had a child,
says the sandbox made from a tractor tire.
Money was scarce, say the jars of plum preserves
and canned tomatoes sealed in the cellar hole.
And the winters cold, say the rags in the window frames.
It was lonely here, says the narrow country road.

Something went wrong, says the empty house
in the weed-choked yard.  Stones in the fields
say he was not a farmer; the still-sealed jars
in the cellar say she left in a nervous haste.
And the child?  Its toys are strewn in the yard
like branches after a storm — a rubber cow,
a rusty tractor with a broken plow,
a doll in overalls.  Something went wrong, they say.

 

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2 Responses to “Old Farms, Abandoned”

  1. Diana Studer Says:

    that poem makes my hair stand on end, some sad story lurks behind the photo in turn.

  2. shoreacres Says:

    That would be “storm cellar,” of course. The poem is just too sad. I’ve seen such places, and imagined their stories. I’ve even seen such a place or two, and known their stories. Life can be hard, in the country.


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