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Shack in the Woodland

We used to say I don't care anymore if I never have money. As long as I have my sweet honey, and a shack in the woodland. — Greg Brown, "Who Woulda Thunk It?"

In the golden sun of January, winter afternoon Among the evanescent wreckage of a time that passed too soon

There was little there left standing but a house beside the rails amid the timeless, somber forests and the fields bereft of tales

The locals talked of stations, but the sign described a loom, And through the windows when we peered, it seemed a cottage sitting room

From a time when little was enough, when hardship roamed the fields, when kettles boiled on wood fires and the mills still glowed with steel

Now, years since then the land is fallow, silent are the hills, and winter grasses choke the hollows where water turned the mills

And I came forth to glimpse the past, a vision we once lost of the earth who kept us nourished between floods and fire and frost,

Of floors hewn rough and chimneys, of iron tracks laid still, and the ghost of coal-fed engines chuffing, whistles blowing shrill

Among the silent stands of pine whose shadows licked the winter land, we might have walked across a homestead, in the hollow of God's hand

When I watched my daughter's eyes behind the camera she could see how the passing years escape us like the forest for the trees

As shadows lengthened, evening fell and so will fall for me, for now my girl's eleven but she'll soon be twenty three.


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