Friday, October 24, 2008



Photographers and painters seem to like abandoned farms:
Weather-beaten grain bins, gray houses and stone barns,
Wagon wheels and rusted trucks, discarded farm machines.
Can’t people see the sadness of someone’s broken dreams?

What farmer hasn’t dreamed his farm would always carry on;
Or children planned to farm the land, when it became their own?
But quarrels, death or markets; hail, drought or early frost,
A dozen things take farm or farmer and the dream is lost.

Where people once planned next year’s crops with hopeful smile or laugh,
Another empty farm house stands, to paint or photograph.

Abandoned farms have always bothered me because they once were somebody's dreams now gone. Yet they are glorified in paintings and photographs as something beautiful. Maybe they are but it is a dark beauty if you take into account the human factor. My Toronto brother or his then girl-friend took the picture of our old house in 2005 and I wrote the poem the next year.


  1. Sadly there will be many more empty farms and homes in the not to distant future.

  2. May-b, it makes me sad too because it is way too autobiographical.

    Demeur, you are right, of course. Farming is about commerce, about feeding the world, not about rural lifestyle, values and such. Economies of scale force the big to get bigger and lack of livelihood force the others out.


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