Not Just Words

Author: Retter Hofbesitzer / Labels: ,

This is my tale of life on the farm, where to manhood I grew and left with alarm,

Off to adventure in South Vietnam.

No choice but to leave there, for service to country was then only fair,

Had to do duty said both Dad and Mom.

In earlier years there was no such big fear, for all my loved ones stayed close and lived near,

Aunts and uncles, even cousins stayed 'round.

And now, if you'll let me, I'll tell you the yarn, of good times and bad times on our little farm,

Of how it became, for me, hallowed ground.

The old house was clapboard, foundation of stone, and long had been standing before it was home,

Small shelter it was, is now, always will be.

Guard trees by the lane in two perfect rows, of gravel and grass, and wintertime snows,

Kitchen window looked down on sledding-time lee.

Below it the rock in the creek for my play, whilst olders and wisers worked every day,

In soil, on fields, fecund and fertile.

Mostly minnies and crawdads there did I see, and often a frog made me jump up with glee,

Sometimes a snake or great snapping turtle.

The earth neatly turned up and ready to sow, the cows in the meadow movin' ever so slow,

The beauty of wheat, the aromas astounded.

In the orchard spring blossums lasted not long, but out there came also songbirds' sweet song,

Pears, plums, apples and cherries abounded.

A barn, a henhouse, a woodshed be there, the work sounds of farming alive in the air,

A mother, a father, three sisters and theirs.

The long walk out back to free-standing wood, was made even better than any man could,

By cattle and sheep that roamed there in pairs.

Under great maple, hickory, and large golden oak, I sat with a friend yet seldom we spoke,

Though climb them we did as high as we could.

Birds and squirrels, other creatures were neighbors, and they, just as we, went on with their labors,

And they, just as we, were in love with the wood.

Later in childhood I joined them in toil, and learned the great joy of working the soil,

A farm kid is happy just being out there.

On foot, later tractor, I went to the field, and learned from elders how dirt's made to yield,

Crops, then great joy, of cycles aware.

My dad was a trapper in what water we had, today you might think him quite terribly bad,

But no one back then thought him any the worse.

Muskrat, some raccoons, a fox, and few mink, would meet their demise each winter, I think,

Then Dad smoked his pipe while taking the furs.

Some ducks, some hens, some Guineas as well, the thistle left standing not far from the bell,

The chopping block stood by, silent and still.

Their eggs we were after from each one, you see, but ever the stewpot could easily be,

Filled up and heated at Grandmother's will.

Then there was George, a very large goose, for him we considered making a noose,

For George, you see, did what his fame was.

And always a dog, maybe more than just one, for they also worked and gave us great fun,

Often running and barking, but seldom a fuss.

Black-faced sheep, two horses, and also some swine, and always the straw unbundling from twine,

Made rich by the soil, not in money, but love.

Our ground looked upon from one tiny stoop, the outhouse, the beehives, and also the coop,

And one lonely cedar I saw from above.

And now I look back with sorrow and sadness, for most that we loved have passed to new gladness

'Twas just as it should be for those that love country.