Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



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Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

Daughter of Ishmael

by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Someone's History

The building beckoned, as they do,
With thoughts of finding something new.
I dropped the gate and rode on o’er.
Excited just to go explore.

What I thought was an abandoned barn
A stout refuge from storm, or harm,
Was definitely something more,
A house, a home. From years before.

Now windowless, shingle-less, too,
The door hung on one hinge, askew.
Old rubble did the floors pollute,
And glass was crunching ‘neath my boots.

A stove, a one-time work of art.
Inclusive of the nickel part,
Now lay supine and punctured, split.
Some degenerate had blasted it.

I wondered, “Could I haul it back?
And save it from its sad attack?
Then fix, repair or retrofit
And somehow make the best of it?”

But realized, as I sometimes do
There was no way I could renew.
And sadly turned away; To find,
Another treasure left behind.

In one old bedroom near the stair,
There was a box of letters there.
I sat down on the dusty floor
Soon deep in lives lived long before.

I tucked away the words of love,
And climbed up to the floor above.
To find some boxes neatly stored
With clothes and magazines galore.

But, though the find was truly grand,
I daren’t try to touch - with hand.
For broken panes allowed, unchecked,
With pigeon poop was all bedecked.

Then, at the rafters did I stare,
Some ancient denim dangled there,
So long forgotten by someone,
Tossed and left when work was done.

Moved over to the window then,
Looked out upon the fields again.
I thought about this home, bereft.
Why they came. And why they left.

It once had shone with tender care
As proved by what was left in there.
But abandoned by those that had made,
And from the landscape did they fade.

Was death a reason? Poverty?
Had fortune kicked them to their knees?
Old age? Illness? Friends with flaws?
I sighed. There must have been a cause.

As I rode home, my thoughts were few,
Considering a life askew.
But grateful to have chanced to see,
The glimpse of Someone’s History.

Each week, Delores of Under the Porch Light issues a six-word challenge.
And 'challenge' it is. Six un-related, very random words.
Her instructions? "Use them, me hearties!!! Mwahahahaha!"
True story.
This week's challenge?
Inclusive, retrofit, supine, dangled, denim, degenerate
I don't know about you, but they suggested poetry to me . . .
Many of you have heard this story - I've written about it before.
It just sounds different in rhyme.

16 comments:

  1. I love this... I do! How do you do that?? LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you liked it, Carol! And . . . I don't know . . .

      Delete
  2. Very impressive! I felt like I was there with you :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I hadn't heard this one before - so I'm glad you put it into a poem. I've been in a couple of broken down homes before - one of them the house my mother grew up in. It's an eerie feeling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lives lived. It makes my imagination take off!

      Delete
  4. The old Harsney place, I'm thinking. I understand that it's all leveled now, only the fading memories of what once was remain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I looked out across the prairie the last time we drove past and couldn't see the big old house. I wondered . . .
      Sad.

      Delete
  5. Your beautiful and sad poem has brought tears to my eyes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was sad being there. Part of me is glad that came through in my poem. :)

      Delete
  6. Such beautiful poetry. You have taken this word prompt and done wonders with it. I am in awe!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I can't imagine what it would be like to have that much talent. This is an amazing piece and now I will be thinking of this house all day and where the people went. You did your job marvelously!!!

    ReplyDelete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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