When lilacs last in the dooryard bloomed is what I say

as I come across a lush of ancient lilacs,

a ramble of roses, a knock-kneed apple tree,

or a dance of daffodils growing where they don’t belong

or–just recently–

this solitary, vine-covered chimney

who tried to tell me the story of what went on

in this clearing in the forest near the rock-rilled mountain stream.

When did those lilacs last in the dooryard bloom?




KATE WOLF’S LYRICS (I do love this woman and her words.)

A Lilac bush and an Apple tree
Were standing in the woods,
Out on the hill above the town,
Where once a farmhouse stood.

In the winter the leaves are bare
And no one sees the signs
Of a house that stood and a garden that grew
And life in another time.

One Spring when the buds can bursting forth
And grass grew on the land,
The Lilac spoke to the Apple tree
As only a good friend can.

Do you think, said the Lilac, this might be the year
When someone will build here once more?
Here by the cellar, still open and deep,
There's room for new walls and a floor.

Oh, no, said the Apple, there are so few
Who come here on the mountain this way,
And when they do, they don't often see
Why we're growing here, so far away.

A long time ago we were planted by hands
That worked in the mines and the mills,
When the country was young and the people who came
Built their homes in the hills.

But now there are cities, the roads have come,
And no one lives here today.
And the only signs of the farms in the hills
Are the things not carried away.

Broken dishes, piles of boards,
A tin plate, an old leather shoe.
And an Apple tree still bending down,
And a Lilac where a garden once grew.

4 thoughts on “Affordable Housing? A Holy Site? Or is it “just” a vine-covered, abandoned chimney, an idea, once part of a meaningful whole, now solitary, but still morphing into something else–a place for vines to embed, flower, and turn scarlet. What happens to those ideas and chimneys when someone steps into the unexpected clearing in the forest and begins to wonder afresh at the meaning of it all? ( a 420 character, 9-line poem)

  1. I love it when I come upon random abandoned things on my walks through the woods. Once I came upon an abandoned car and came up with all sorts of theories of how it ended up deep in the woods. Great poem.


  2. Once I had the construct that everything has a story, I see it everywhere. The story of the house and people that came with the chimney writes itself still.
    Grace, I checked out your pictures and the messages they prompted. I am inspired.


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