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Open Poetry #9
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Member Rara Avis
since 2000-04-30
Posts 7563
Spring, Texas

0 posted 2000-08-29 06:08 PM

The Corner Post

Years ago that north corner fence post
was a ten inch square by eight foot long chunk of Bald Cypress
We'd dug a two foot deep hole fourteen inches square
and filled it with the post and concrete;
that post wasn't going anywhere.

Two of it's sides were lined up
right on our North-South
and North-East property lines;
it was the anchor for all five acres of our land;
everything about our little homestead
started and ended right there.

Our trailer was exactly two hundred feet south
and two hundred feet east
of the outside corner of that post,
and the shell-dirt road that went past our place,
like it was going somewhere,
was exactly twenty five feet North of it.

That chunk of Bald Cypress was our alignment god,
and God help anybody that didn't use it as zero reference
for everything that was done on that five acres.
And your measurements had better be right,
no fractions allowed, or Dad would make you move it.

The corner of the chicken yard
was exactly seventy-five feet behind our trailer,
or two hundred and seventy-five feet south, and
two hundred feet east, of that corner post.
You could stake your life on the location of the outhouse,
pig pen, garage/shed, trash pit
and where Dad sat to read his paper
and smoke his cigar under the Willow tree.
Yeah, even the Willow tree was planted
with reference to that big old chunk of wood.

As time passed, and Dad aged,
the street became Willow Drive,
the barbed wire that turned around the post
and enclosed our five acres,
turned into chain link
with metal post set in concrete;
all except that hunk of cypress;
the land might move,
but not that post.

When Dad died, we had him cremated
and placed in one of those jars called Urns.
We kept him on the kitchen table for a long time.
Mom talked to him a lot, everyday.  
And things started going to pot.  

Nobody cared where they put anything anymore
or even seemed to remember why we were always so precise
when we did.
Then Mom died; and it was just me and Sis.
She married Willejoe, down the street,
they moved in with his mom and dad;
that left just me.

I thought about burying dad's urn in mom's grave
but changed my mind.
I had mom dug up and cremated,
then took both of them to the lake
and let them walk the water in the wind.

Two days later I dug up that damned post,
burned it,
took  the ashes to the lake
and sent it to find my dad; he once told me…
"As long as I have that post, I'll know exactly where everything is."

w. james beard, jr.

[This message has been edited by jwesley (edited 08-29-2000).]

© Copyright 2000 Wesley James Beard, Jr. - All Rights Reserved
Member Seraphic
since 1999-05-20
Posts 21191
Cape Cod Massachusetts USA
1 posted 2000-08-29 08:49 PM

Very nice, J... This is a story worth sending around the forum a couple of times - You've used some wonderful metaphors here and told a great story that every reader should be able to relate to their own lives... I personally envisioned my own brother - now living alone on our childhood homestead - with things falling apart around him... Thanks for the reminder...
Senior Member
since 2000-02-18
Posts 564
North Carolina
2 posted 2000-08-30 08:13 AM

Absolute emotions asunder...catching my breath.
  So easy to get caught up in your tale with your writing style being!
  Sorry, I am at a loss of words at the moment.  Lets just say that I think this is fantastic!!!!!

Don't care what people say
Just follow your own way
Don't give up and use the chance
To return to innocence.

Member Rara Avis
since 2000-04-30
Posts 7563
Spring, Texas
3 posted 2000-08-30 11:29 AM

I sincerely appreciate your comments Nan, and Sonjes.  This was one of those almost didn't post things as I felt it would be too mundane and it's actually a little out of my normal style of writing.  But I have been reading a lot of (for lack of better words???) "storified" works and have been wanting to try it on. Any suggestions you, or anyone may have for refining it would be appreciated.

Again, thanks.


[This message has been edited by jwesley (edited 08-30-2000).]

Member Ascendant
since 1999-10-28
Posts 5167
state of confusion
4 posted 2000-08-30 11:55 AM

What a great poem.  Would also make a great story or novel, too! Thanks for sharing this!


Member Rara Avis
since 2000-04-30
Posts 7563
Spring, Texas
5 posted 2000-08-30 09:31 PM

Appreciated it corinne...


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