Stone Fences in New England
Folks from New England will greet you
with a broad smile, but stone fences tell
about their life behind the roadside, so
often traveled. Like rocks, in every form
And shape, life following a fence path.
A new clan moves into town, some
remove decades of creativity -
necessary to survive within a forest
where eagles fly, where crows might be their
only friend… Where seasons strip perfect fences
as if swallowed by a mud slide; so many
favorites gone in summer.
Stone walls speak above a towns whisper.
Tell secrets of life and land; laid claims on
property - as if a child born.
One strolls across the land where plants
and gardens were priority -
As rocks; some sturdy, some buried beneath
a spring flood – so they stroll a little longer,
touch cold black stone, notice a missing
one among their private line.
He who builds fences with names of names -
like names before, more then some.
The town folk stroll about their property
talking out loud, shuffling as small stones
are kicked along a lonely path where
maples cry into metal buckets –
Three times when seasons change;
after floods and hard spring rain, after
frozen limbs have snapped, after summer
drought has taken yet another stone
from east to west, from north to south.
The black bird flies from tree to tree
as if inspecting property…
With shadows on the fence do lie
changing their identity.
He who keeps a perfect fence; assaulted
in a storm shall be praised by all who
live from east to west or north and south,
while buried stones lay higher in weeds,
or swallowed by moss – no one sees.
As morning drifts into day… the
sun and its shadow lays on perfect lines
declaring life with a mark of dawn as
it creeps into crevasses from the eastern
A black bird still flies overhead, searching
for his resting place among the moist grass
of morning, or on top of a cold stone of
Yet footsteps in evening light play tricks
on those who travel through a New England
For stones have come and decades pass but
still a black crow follows.
He tells his story as he shuffles
to the crow who lingers in the maple -
a story of those people who built stone
walls with markers in a town
from east to west.
He will sleep, and let the evening
shade settle at his back. And still he
knows a graveyard travels too – first
and last it greets you as you are passing
through a New England town.
And I wonder if the town folk still
wave hello – and a quick good bye?
Nancy Duci Denofio
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