Crumbling Wall

The Old Ruins
by: Mary Dow Brine (1816-1913)

If ye could speak, old ruins,
That rise in stately pile,
As tho’ ye longed to boast the power
That ye possessed erewhile;
If ye could tell the grandeur
Of the old days long past,
Ere Time, with his destroying touch,
Came ruthlessly and fast,
To level all the glory
That clung to your proud walls–
Ah! grand would be the story
Of those ancestral halls!
What tales of high-born maidens!
What tales of Cavaliers!
What comedies and tragedies!
What tales of hopes and fears!
What stories, too, of triumphs,
And tales of wrong and right!
What histories of the clouds of life,
And of its joys so bright!
But solemn is the silence
That reigns about you here;
Your secret hides in the deep heart
Of the old forest drear,
And Peace is ever brooding
Above your crumbling walls,
And heaven’s sunshine dances thro’
The space of vanished halls.

This old rock wall is on our farm, oh that these old rocks could tell their stories. I love to imagine the life that took place within the walls of this old house a hundred years ago. As I painted the fireplace I wondered what might have been stuffed into stockings hung by this mantel Christmases past. I painted in plein air, but I had to remember the lovely apricot light, for it never lasts long.

Walking the Dog

Walking the Dog

Two universes mosey down the street
Connected by love and a leash and nothing else.
Mostly I look at lamplight through the leaves
While he mooches along with tail up and snout down,
Getting a secret knowledge through the nose
Almost entirely hidden from my sight.

We stand while he’s enraptured by a bush
Till I can’t stand our standing any more
And haul him off; for our relationship
Is patience balancing to this side tug
And that side drag; a pair of symbionts
Contented not to think each other’s thoughts.

What else we have in common’s what he taught,
Our interest in shit. We know its every state
From steaming fresh through stink to nature’s way
Of sluicing it downstreet dissolved in rain
Or drying it to dust that blows away.
We move along the street inspecting shit.

His sense of it is keener far than mine,
And only when he finds the place precise
He signifies by sniffing urgently
And circles thrice about, and squats, and shits,
Whereon we both with dignity walk home
And just to show who’s master I write the poem.
~Howard Nemerov