Ode To Stone Walls

These ancient lichen covered stones

on this broken derelict rock wall

look like the ends of fossilized bones

a memory from some old battle call

Their story never revealed and told

and left to ones imagination

a mystery, a saga, about to unfold

the beginning of a savage nation

Chiseled man coupled with loyal beast

tilled once untamed and wild land

In hopes that productivity increased

for open field and bounty planned

Large stones uprooted in soil turned

in dirt broken and still unspoiled

provided hope and lessons learned

as man and beast both willingly toiled

Boulders plentiful put to good use

along a crooked unkept field’s edge

withstood neglect and weather’s abuse

but still a hardy and unyielding hedge

Each stone carefully put into place

each cobble set with certain effect

with inherited skill and steady pace

a wall constructed upright and erect

Days, weeks, and years of travail

over decades walls were implanted

eons of work without cut board or nail

safe haven for livestock forever granted

Ever long distances of intrepid palisade

both contained grazing cow and sheep

A foundation still uncertain was laid

for promise, thought, and hopes to keep

Over a century and many thousands of miles

stacked stone was piled and put to ponder

Callous layered with effort and weary smiles

livestock could neither get lost or wander

A landscape full with stones not angled

and broken hearts and notions defeated

both tired beast and humans wrangled

dreams and ambitions dashed and cheated

Westward Ho! Restless man began the cry!

Homesteads lost and left behind

The human landscape doth wither and die

A new story did forever unwind

Tilled fields replaced with invasions of trees

Rock walls left behind stood fast in place

Rough toil gone, replaced with memories

of green fields and open space

And now an ancient edifice broken

A fantasy, an aspiration, a thought long gone

with unremembered purpose and words unspoken

no battle lines or endings ever drawn.

These stone walls now serve another master

they host fungi, plants and animals wild

providing shade for evergreen wood aster

a flower of beauty and grace not rivaled

The unyielding stone wall remains to this day

marking land boundaries in forests renewed

Draped in old vines with chipmunks at play

history, human effort, evolution reviewed.

These age old walls secrets never revealed

memories broken, shattered, and lost

happy days, suffering well healed

A history never without a cost

These rock walls stand still with grace

A measure of human effort and standard

Piled stones that fill the space

of man’s work and intent meandered

Long gone vivid hopes and spirited dreams

long gone determined and unyielding endeavor

Long gone wall building oxen teams

Long gone, good-bye, they may be lost forever

Bill Lattrell

Wild Ramblings

January 2014

Below is a recording of this poem, read by yours truly.  Media player should play it automatically when you click on it.  It may take a moment to download.

Ode To Stone Walls

  • Guy

    Very nice Bill I also like the cloud photo.


  • http://www.wildramblings.com Wild_Bill

    Thanks Guy. The photo was taken from the front deck of our house.

  • Teresa Evangeline

    I’m so pleased you are posting your own poetry with a reading … such a fine way to connect. This is reminiscent of Frost and Whitman … very cool.

  • http://www.wildramblings.com Wild_Bill

    Thank you Teresa. Very encouraging words. I will continue to do this from time to time. I started this as a way to play with words so that I can improve my prose and discovered that I like the process. I’ve also discovered that it is very difficult for me to read a long poem without errors as you’ve likely noticed. Any tips, your readings are perfect?

  • Teresa Evangeline

    Long poems are a real challenge to record without errors … sure wish they had a way to edit … but, alas, we are stuck with what is … if you’re happy with the recording other than a small error or hesitation, I’d suggest you let it be … I don’t mind those little bits, as they remind us we are in the company of friends …

  • http://www.wildramblings.com Wild_Bill

    Good advice! And a good reminder that I’m in the company of friends and everybody already knows I’m extremely imperfect!

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