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On a Winter’s Night

November 29, 2012

Fractured memories recalled through a dusty lens –

of Winter’s chill settling around the old farmhouse,

its grey and weathered wood siding yielding reluctantly to icy fingers

as wisps of coal smoke rise from the crumbling brick chimney to be carried away

over the pastures and long forgotten fence-rows to the surrounding woods.


In the heart of that old farmhouse,

standing barefoot over what seemed to me then a massive iron grate,

the squares of the grate making prints on the bottoms of my feet,

heat rising past me, warming me as it rises from the coal-stoked furnace below.

I gave no thought to the dirt floors and sandstone walls of the hand-dug basement

or the pile of coal shoveled into the coal bin.

Labor expended so that I could stand there.




Later, upstairs, the pine treads of the stairs having groaned in protest,

the glass of water beside my bed would be capped with ice by morning.

But I would lie beneath the weight of generations.

Tired quilts made by tired hands put into service.

The labor expended so that I could lie there.




Those frayed quilts piled upon me

and pulled up under my chin by calloused hands.

Hands that had worked all day.

Hands that had not seen a moment’s rest.


Years pass and the ears are left wanting.

They seek out echos of uttered affections that have faded,

or perhaps were never spoken.

On this cold Winter night, my heart reminds me of that old farm house

and of the warmth of that coal furnace

and of those yellowing and worn quilts.

And, of the service of those tired and weary hands.


From → Flash Fiction, Poetry

  1. Exceptional imagery.

  2. Farm houses are haunted with nostalgia. Love this piece.

  3. Good work! Vivid imagery, and this coming from a city boy.

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