Read Poem: Photographing Old Barns, by G. Thomas Edwards

The rain stopped an hour ago.
Cadmium crimson and black
flood my rearview mirror
while orange hues
wash over my shoulders from behind.
The burgeoning color is bright
and no longer can I see
vanishing lines behind me.
Black empyrean
gives way to azure holes
between the grey mottled mantle
that only moments before
hid billions of stars.
Outside,
blurring by
tall golden grass succumbs
to patches of bright cerulean green,
spring’s calling card.
Ahead,
disappearing distance
the horizon
a backlit profile of snow-capped prominence,
comforting containment.

Cruise Control on Route 83,
heartland, Idaho.
Underneath my feet,
the staccato beat
of undulating pavement
perfectly timed
to diminishing power pole lines.
I’ve been driving all night.
In search of the past
still clinging on till now.
In the distance
a dark object lists in the night,
a building soon to be exposed
at first light.
I have seen so many,
like cattle dotting the landscape.
It’s an old barn and instinctively I swerve
pulling off to the right.
Gravel meets rubber,
scratching
like a stylus bumped across vinyl
silencing the song in my head.
I jump out of the car, iPhone in hand,
too tired to grab the camera bag and stand.
This will be quick,
a snapshot of the lives
of those passed on.

I walk the half mile or so
through grass
covered in kaleidoscopic
water droplets
a gift of the early morning rain.
A creature of habit,
maybe just seeking guidance
from left over recordings
etched in aging wood,
I lay hands on the grey weathered grain
searching for vibrations from another time,
and gaze towards sunrise
silhouetting a failing, split rail fence.
The kind Abraham built
a yarn from our sixth-grade storybooks.
The light is quickly filling the prairie,
exposing the building’s sensual senescence.
It is not a barn,
this plains cenotaph
a homestead, maybe
whose windows held no glass,
only shutters to keep out “them critters”
and the icy cold Mariah.

Grey and scared
the wooden floor creaks
warning its ghosts of my presence.
As I step over gnarled planks,
barley bound,
most likely the door,
held together with rusting ore
I need to duck
to pass through this hand hewn
buckling and splitting timber jamb.
Before me, barren walls and empty, dust laden shelves
succumb to the forces of gravity and time,
whilst a gleam of light
beckons my eye to the dark corner
where I can feel, surreal
the beds that at one time sheltered
my lingering hosts.
One of many sparkling cobwebs
leads me down
toward a clump of wood with painted face,
a doll I guess,
sitting, waiting
arms and legs still held in place by baling wire.
Bending down close I touch my screen
“click”
preserving this princess’s once vivid dream.

I knew they,
the ghosts would approve,
to be remembered that way,
way out here
so far from the homes
they left so many miles ago.
They came despite the odds,
building roads, creating jobs
yearning for a better life,
free from political and religious strife
filled with hopes and dreams
of owning their own.
It is innate, within us, you know;
the need to find our own way.
We will, human beings, leave
our home to seek what others won’t.
Leaving behind on alien worlds
someday to find,
curiosities and treasures for
inquiring minds like mine,
remnants of our peregrination
to the planets out there,
like Kepler-186f
sitting comfortably in what we now call
the habitable zone.

– G.Thomas Edwards

Author: poetryfest

Submit your Poetry to the Festival. Three Options: 1) To post. 2) To have performed by an actor 3) To be made into a film.

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