Farther from Feathers.


I was building a wall just the other day,
heaving the ol’ stones
worn smooth by Water and Moonlight and…
time.
Delicate moss clinging upon the cool, pocked surface
like old wishes and dreams
that never came to light.
Still, it holds on, though the species is now
unidentifiable.

My back strained under the burdensome weight,
and I never thought this jagged, old stockade
would hold back the horrors
on the other side of the field,
like rabid black sheep
or feckless, nutrient-drained sod
encroaching on my undeveloped land.
But I had faith in my creation
and regarded it with pride.

And the elements convened to thwart me
and my own self-doubt in
my taut, stringy muscles,
and what they have carried
and what they have gripped.

Then a great, honking wedge blackened the sky
and I was buffeted by a gaggle of ebony geese,
fervently pecking at my hair
looking for sustenance
or just relieving me from my parasites.
Perhaps a bit of both.
I found it strangely comforting
and they built a nest, unlike the rest.
And the stones became easier to lift
and stack…
and climb over.

The wall is a remnant, now:
a crude snapshot of history that
We All
have forgotten.
But I visit it, sometimes
to remember simply
the work that went in.

Last time I looked,
I found black feathers in the mortar,
frozen in between the stones like
an avian Iceman
and it made me remember
and thank whomever
for all the valuable lessons learned.

4 Responses to “Farther from Feathers.”

  1. diotina Says:
    November 11th, 2003 at 9:45 am

    Have you read Robert Frost's 'Mending Wall'?

  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    November 12th, 2003 at 7:01 am

    I hadn't until you suggested so. Thank you.
    My favorite lines:
    Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
    What I was walling in or walling out,
    And to whom I was like to give offence.

    and
    He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
    My apple trees will never get across
    And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
    He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.</l>

  3. velvetdahlia Says:
    November 11th, 2003 at 10:08 pm

    Then a great, honking wedge blackened the sky
    and I was buffeted by a gaggle of ebony geese,

    The wall is a remnant, now:
    I found black feathers in the mortar
    These are my favorite lines.
    I hope you write more poems.

  4. FunkyPlaid Says:
    November 12th, 2003 at 7:02 am

    You're a dear.
    I shall, when they make themselves known, but it's not really my most eloquent medium.
    🙂

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