The Wall

The wall still stands.
The farm is gone, the people gone.
Scrub and weeds now stand where corn rows grew.

To clear his field of rocks that broke his plows,
a long-dead farmer dug and pried these stones
from ancient graves to face anew
the sun and wind and weather.

Dragging them on horse-drawn sledge
to borders of his fields,  he set them
one upon the other, nestled in just so,
to grow for many years in rising rows.

He died before he finished - left his sons
to pile their stones on top of his,
and generations followed.
Work begun to rid a man of nuisance
wrought at last a thing of beauty.

Gravity and friction 
made this fence outlast its makers.
Families scattered, names forgotten,
but their monument remains.

Twining vines find purchase
in the many cracks and spaces -
frame mosaic grays with softer green.
Mosses grow in shady spots,
and lichens, mottled red and brown, abound.

Resting in its shade, children
of the past would snack on fallen apples.
Field mice built their nests beneath its shelter.
Black snakes warmed themselves on sunny stones.

In darker days, menís rifles
peered above its capstones,
crackling instant death knells
all along its line.

Wounded soldiers leaned against
the rocks and stained their gray with vivid red.

But now the stones are silent.
They, too, will crumble to the ground in time,
that time that lost the farmer and his sons 
and changed the tiny creatures of the sea
to stones in this abandoned wall.

Written April 1998 by David L Brungart - © Copyright