Home Town Tales

Silence Returns

April 21st, 2015

Silence Returns

farm_cemetery cemeter_view


For Christians, Easter season is a time to celebrate victory over death. It’s a time to focus on resurrection as a saving grace for an earthly life, and to look forward to an eternal life. But what is that eternal life? I doubt the assurance of a heavenly eternal life, but I don’t doubt the impact of our lives on what remains after we are long gone. If that and a life of love is the meaning of resurrection, I’m joyful. If there’s more, I’m blissful. For now I’ll settle for the certainty of what I’ve left behind.

Weldon Springs State Park abuts the farmland of my childhood. I recently took a stroll through it’s new nature trails and discovered a cemetery among a grove of oak trees. It’s on a small rise that overlooks a creek and it’s valley.

Silence Returns

Where thistles and golden rod reclaim prairie,
a cemetery is nestled among elms.
Who manicures this patch of grass
where dirt reclaims lives?

Tombstones read as tablets of faith,
stories of devotion to God,
while the derelict valley below
tells tales the grave keeps secret.

A faded red barn,
a white house turned grey,
a corncrib without corn,
stables that house cobwebs,

know more than tombstones.
They shout through emptiness.
All demand to tell their stories
before decay turns them to dust.

A bay horse went lame,
throwing Joseph to the ground.
His next ride brought him here.

Sam carried a gas lantern to check the calf
that cold spring night it was born.
Neither survived the barn fire.

A corn picker took first John’s arm,
an infection took his life.
His wife, his kids, are not buried here.

On the barn, a crow caws, flies away.
And silence returns, hung heavy,
its anchor holding these lives in place.