Abandoned Farmhouse

He was a big man, says the size of his shoes
on a pile of broken dishes by the house;
a tall man too, says the length of the bed
in an upstairs room; and a good, God-fearing man,
says the Bible with a broken back
on the floor below the window, dusty with sun;
but not a man for farming, say the fields
cluttered with boulders and the leaky barn.

A woman lived with him, says the bedroom wall
papered with lilacs and the kitchen shelves
covered with oilcloth, and they had a child,
says the sandbox made from a tractor tire.
Money was scarce, say the jars of plum preserves
and canned tomatoes sealed in the cellar hole.
And the winters cold, say the rags in the window frames.
It was lonely here, says the narrow country road.

Something went wrong, says the empty house
in the weed-choked yard. Stones in the fields
say he was not a farmer; the still-sealed jars
in the cellar say she left in a nervous haste.
And the child? Its toys are strewn in the yard
like branches after a storm—a rubber cow,
a rusty tractor with a broken plow,
a doll in overalls. Something went wrong, they say.

Abandoned Farmhouse by Ted Kooser (1980)
Photographs are of an abandoned farmhouse in County Westmeath.

15 comments on “Abandoned Farmhouse

  1. Paul McGuinness says:

    For a moment I thought you were writing poetry. PMcG

  2. Homan says:

    A lovely post and wonderful photographs. It should all be preserved.

  3. What a haunting epitaph to unknown lives.

  4. Patrick O R says:

    Truly a wonderful combination Robert, even Chardin would be proud of your images.

  5. Brilliant – good to see you highlighting old cottages and such forth….

  6. George G says:

    An stunning combination of poetry and pictures. Quite superb…….

  7. Melancholy and beautiful, words and photos

  8. Lovely piece of work Robert – beautifully woven and intriguing . Draws me into further investigation…

  9. Lovely piece of work Robert – beautifully woven and intriguing. Draws you towards further investigation…

  10. wardpress22 says:

    Great piece, thank you.

  11. the Elegant Economist says:

    A powerful post. Thank you.

  12. jockok says:

    Brilliant & Beautiful… what a joy to find!

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