July 11, 2009

Al “Doc” Mehl

FENCE POSTS MADE OF STONE

In the heart of central Kansas,
Near my daddy’s boyhood home,
There are miles and miles of fences
Where the posts…are made of stone.

In the middle of the Great Plains,
Where a tree could scarce be found,
Men carved out limestone pillars,
And they sunk them in the ground.

Now, when the prairie wind comes blowin’,
Those posts don’t seem to care,
As the wires strung between them
Dance like jump ropes in the air.

And standin’ at attention,
Their shoulders never tire,
As they hold, to either side of them,
Those strands of old barbed wire.

Those posts have stood a hundred years,
They’ll stand a thousand more,
And when the wires rust away,
Folks might wonder what they’re for.

But like soldiers in formation,
Dressed in limestone grays and whites,
They do more than mark a boundary;
They salute a way of life.

They line a road paved with persistence,
Not just a homestead, but a dream
About a family’s subsistence.
Those fence posts paint a scene:

It’s a wagon, loaded down with stone;
A Morgan fights the reins;
A young man, wet with sweat,
Is buildin’ fence out on the plains.

So when it seems I’ve had a hard day,
As I haul myself back home,
Well, I just imagine Grandpa
Settin’ fence posts…made of stone.

–from Rattle #30, Winter 2008
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