Monday, December 31, 2007

The Shack Just South of Town...

I guess this is a day of re-exploring for me. I was exploring a web site of mine and found a poem I liked and posted it on A Time and a Place. Now I'll post a poem (one of my best, circa 1970) on this blog. Please don't think I believe I am the best poet around; that's my job! 'chuckle' Enjoy... PS..Be sure to bring your crying towel!

In 1970 I was privileged to attend Modesto Junior College on the GI bill. In my English Lit class we were asked to write something over the weekend; a story, poem or whatever. I wrote the following poem in about an hour.

The Shack Just South of Town

The day was long, the sun was hot, The flies came swarmin' 'round

The garbage can that sat beside The Shack Just South of Town

The door was open; nothin' stopped the insects in their flight, And in and out they flew as if they thought they had the right

To come and go whene'er they pleased and be a social pest, And never let a body really settle down and rest.

You'd think the shack was empty and not a soul around, To look at all the bugs and flies and know the only sound

Was comin' from these pesky things, as back and forth they flew, Both in and out the open door and through the windows, too.

You'd think that, 'til you had a look inside this filthy den That reeked of human odors and the acrid smell of gin,

And food that lay uneaten nigh on a week, I'd say. Twas better had you never known the woman anyway

Who lived inside these wretched walls, this place that she called home, Or heard her mumble in her sleep, or heard her drunken moan.

But if you'd listen close enough, you'd hear a name or two Mixed faintly with the mumblings and the curses of this shrew.

The names of those a long time gone but unforgotten still; Recalled from memories of the past; the days this shack was filled

With sounds of love and laughter made by the family here; The woman and her husband, and a tiny baby, dear.

So dear the child to both of them, it filled their hearts with joy To know that heaven had blessed them with this happy baby boy.

The man was nothing special, the least on looks, you'd say, But hard work never slowed him down, he'd start at break of day

And work the land from dawn to dusk and seldom stop for rest With no complaints, content to know he'd always done his best

To see his family always had enough to eat and such, And clothes to keep 'em from the cold; they'd never want for much.

And the woman loved her husband, they were happy with their life, And the little child to bless them; both the husband and the wife.

But it couldn't last forever, if forever be a year, For a thing was soon to happen that would banish all their cheer.

All the crops were ripe for harvest when a norther came around And without such as a warning, drove it all into the ground!

This would be a long, cold winter with no light to fill the gloom, For the man could buy no oil for the lantern in the room,

And no food would grace the table, for the crops they counted on To suffice them through the winter and to fill their needs was gone.

So a desperate decision by the man and wife was found; He would have to leave his family and to look for work in town.

But the work was hard to come by and the man was gone from home Weeks on end in search of labor, and the girl was left alone.

For a while she took it calmly; then her thoughts began to fly To the tavern they had visited in the little town nearby;

And the more she thought about it, all the more she'd like to go And be with those happy people, and the man would never know.

She would just be gone an hour, and the babe would be all right, Were he left alone no longer than it took her on this night. And she went...

Such a grand time she was having, being with these folks again; She was offered, and accepted, just a little sip of gin;

Then another and another, 'till the room began to blur, And she sank into a stupor, and no one could waken her!

When she woke up in the morning in the stable where she lay, With the hostler there beside her, lying naked in the hay, -

Then the thought crushed in around her of this dreadful thing she'd done,- Of her desecrated marriage; then her thoughts ran to her son,

And in frantic desperation toward the little shack she flew, Filled with dread and deep foreboding, closer to the house she drew.

There she came up to the pathway and she saw the open door, And the dread anticipation flooded o'er her all the more.

As she stumbled through the portal close to where the babe had slept, Then she saw the crib was empty, and with piercing scream she leapt

Through the back of the cabin!! --There she saw the new made mound, And she saw the man, her husband, kneeling there upon the ground.

He had picked some silly flowers that were covered up with frost, And he'd made a little garland and had hung it on the cross.

Then he rose and faced the woman; there was nothing she could say,- Not a word the husband uttered, but just turned and walked away.

Now the woman lives alone there, Where a family once did dwell;

Lives alone there with the knowledge That she'd brought about this hell;

Lives there with these rancid odors,- With the flies the only sound;

In this little dingy cabin; In this Shack Just South of Town.




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