Sunday, September 07, 2008

Vanishing Barns

An article by Monica Davey in today's New York Times discusses the vanishing barns of Iowa, and the associated social changes: skyrocketing farmland prices, bigger farms, dying small towns.

All this reminded me of my poem originally published in Poetry Midwest, No. 16:

The Barns of Indiana

The barns of Indiana are falling down.
Roofs, shingles blown off,
pushed down by snow’s weight,
sagging, sagging,
finally breached,
exposing hand hewn rafters
joined with pegs by hands now skeletal
like the barns themselves.
The barns of Indiana are falling down.
Paint gone, exposing wood
turned grey by the elements.
Vestiges of faded white or red
clinging here and there to
skewed walls, bowed boards,
doors off track.
The barns of Indiana are falling down.
Victims of nature and human neglect,
relics of an agrarian past,
standing in the path
of an exurban future.
The ground where they fall
will soon to be subdivided.
Houses will rise
around manmade ponds.
The barns of Indiana are falling down.
But the novelty of round barns
may be their salvation.
Tourist attractions, they still stand.
Maybe a building with no corners
where evil spirits may hide
really is protected.

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