old fashioned edited

Areas of my ramshackle chicken coop are filled and covered with odd-and-end antiques.  I don’t buy them; they just seem to find me, in ditches, from neighbors and friends, at thrift stores.  I love them for their shape, color, and design.  More deeply, they speak to me of people and times long faded.  My book Rabbit Lane: Memoir of a Country Road is partly about the voices of the peoples and cultures that have died, giving way to the young and new.  The young and the new, however, find much of their substance in the past, whether they care to acknowledge it or not.  When I want to feel the voices, I walk on Rabbit Lane, or retreat to roost in my coop.  (See Chapter 15: Of Foxes and Hens for a description of how my chicken coop was built.)  This poem is about my chicken coop antiques and the voices that still whisper.


Reaper’s rusted scythe screwed to weathered wood.
Glass milk bottles glazed with powdered cobweb.

I have surrounded myself
with old things
that gather dust to cover rust.

Springy sheep shears that built bulky forearms.
Blue-green power line insulators.

I bring them inside walls
of bricks and unplaned planks
and windows of rainbow leaded glass
that once walled and windowed others’
houses and living rooms and bedrooms and kitchens,
and sit with them.

Buckboard step that lifted a long-dressed lady.
Sun-bleached yolk with cracking leather straps.
White skull of an ox.

Filigree voices whisper
the virtues of old ways,
without judgment of me
or my time or my ways,
in gratitude for not forgetting
altogether.  I prefer their voices
to the bickering blogs
and testy tweety texts
of now.  They tell me they were
practical get-it-done devices
with no axe to grind or soul to skewer.

Brown-iron horseshoes open upward
to catch the luck, nails bent and clinging.
Vestiges of sky-blue on the rickety bench
I sit upon.

8 thoughts on “Voices

  1. Paul

    As I read your poem I felt the strong power and gifts that come with the passage of time. The passage of time allows the mundaneness of our todays to fade away. It applies salve to our wounds and allows healing to our hearts, our minds and to our souls.

    Thank you once yet again Roger for your teaching and remembering.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Emily

    Like you, I am very much attracted and drawn to old ways and old things. Maybe it’s a love of history, a longing for simpler times. Like I’ve told you before, I sometimes feel like I was born in the wrong century. I’ve often wanted to know the stories behind the old objects I’ve collected over the years. Take the worn, but well built table I picked up from DI the other day. (a total score for me.) This morning while I was sanding and applying the stain, I chuckled when I discovered the curious markings at the base of a table leg. Looked to me like someone’s little doggy found a prime spot to satisfy an urge to do a little naughty gnawing.

    How nice it would be to see the curiosities and antiques in your coop, or better yet, take a leisurely stroll down Rabbit Lane on a sunny day like today and come upon a few treasures. My idea of fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Harv Russell

    Boy ! Roger ! If I just had a quarter of the gift and talent that you have I could write a poem that would take me a long time to complete , if I named the items that I have in a shed that goes back a few generations as you have done.

    Liked by 1 person


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