Monday, June 6, 2011

Greenwood Farms

There was on this land sprawling acreage
Leafy green trees, rooted deep
Horses, cattle, and farm cats running free
Beneath behemoth oak trees a white wooden house
Interior walls painted by hand, depicting weeping willows and birds
And their chaotic, interwoven nests

In summertime, voices reverberate between wooden beams
As children hide within peculiar rooms and hidden spaces before taking
To neighboring hills, whose mild slopes provide unspoiled panoramas
Nothing but raw earth

Time clicks on, willing change
Papers are drawn to inhibit the freedom of this place
Little by little, the terrain spoils
Oak trees lining quiet streams become backyards of eerily familiar homes
Red brick
Perfectly squared, manicured lawns

Atop the hill refuge etches away until there exists but one view: people, houses,
Man’s insistent sprawl

No horses roam free
Nor cattle
Nor cats, dogs, or children

Decades pass and children helplessly grow into adults
Less frequent are their family gatherings
Memorialized by fading photographs
Tacked into cracked, rotting walls

When finally the homestead is sold, and with it every last acre of land
The children, now grown, dream of its rolling hills
Where they played beneath maypoles, built forts and skidded bicycles on gravel roads

The city’s expanding reach compounds their longing
For days when man encountered
Fewer homes
And stores
And superfluous manmade things that overwhelm the place where stood their quiet haven

One day, a woman makes pilgrimage to this place of bound recollection
Many years have passed since she joined her family here within
The farm’s white, bold, stone gates

Inside, as if time stood still, or turned upon itself, is her grandparents’ house
Holding within its joyous halls dust and faint etchings
And ghosts, of what used to be, and what could have been
Before long, this house will fall, its stones recycled to build more structures
And liberate more space
That we might all have less