Chorus in Search of a Song

The past has never passed;
It still torments mind,
Until all that I have left
Is what I’ve left behind.

I had wanted to write a poem about my life on the farm in the early 1950s–
“I grew up in the Georgia pine,
Barefootin’, swinging on a muscadine vine.
We were poor, but we never knew it.
Hard times came and we got though it.”

But the poem didn’t come about. I saw the farm 50 years later. The house and barn were gone. Everything was paved over. John Prine does a better better job of such lament in his song “Paradise” about Muhlenberg Co., Kentucky.

“i wanted to write a poem
about the farmhouse, etc., etc.,
it never happened,
I went back and it was gone,
john prine could talk about it better,
then i wrote one stanza about
living in the past,
I put it up in a message board and
the only two responses were from
myself and one was a duplicate post,
etc., etc.,

Now that’s the making of a poem.
Life is a poem, we just have good
sense to throw a net over it.

(side note, if we’re going to be friends)
something about your shirt,
glasses and mustache make you look
like either a really nice guy or a pedophile.
suggestion, put a t-shirt on and grow a beard.
far be it from me to give image advice.
And even if you don’t do these things
I’ll still be your friend.
i don’t look as good as you or i’d be posting a pic, too

Thanks for the kind words. My beard is now over five inches long; and I’m wearing a tee shirt.

I waded the creek till the end of the day,
Stubbed my toes running on red clay,
Climbed up the sawdust pile out by the mill,
Listened in the twilight for the whippoorwill.
We had a mule named Matt who plowed for corn,
A flock of chickens and one fat hog. We drew water from a well behind the house, had an outhouse, cooked cracklin bread on a woodstove, bathed in a galvanized pan. We had a dog named Pepper. Dad kept bees. We were living as they did in the 1800s. I ate well and will never forget the good taste of cornbread with buttermilk or pot lickker. My brother and I slept in a tin roofed shed. Rain lulled us to sleep. For entertainment we had grandma’s Victrola; I can still remember the records such as Vernon Dalharts “Hear Them Bells”.

Matt was our mule; Pepper was our dog.
We kept a flock of chickens and one fat hog.
The mule would plow and Pepper would follow.
A wildcat screamed from down in the hollow.

Dad kept beehives down past the well;
I had to get used to the outhouse smell.
Mom scrubbed clothes and cooked on wood;
Dad was a preacher, so I had to be good.

It was back in 1952
That we moved to Ohio and a small town view.
I left the farm; but. it never left me.
It is sacred in the storage of my memory.

The chorus has to be put in another song.

Two of my sisters slept in the big house. Brother and I slept in a tin-roofed shed. We had a '33 Plymouth that had running boards and a goat for a hood ornament. We called it “Lil Abner”. I still dream about driving such a car. It was traded off for the trip to Ohio. We had killed the fat hog, salted the meat and took some of it with us on the trip North. Insert.
Brother and I slept in a tin-roofed shed.
Grandma’s Victrola was beside our bed.
The rhythm of the rain lulled us to sleep
While the record player played. “O Mary Don’t you weep.”
Two sisters slept up in the main house
Along with our father and his hard working spouse.
Mom washed clothes on a board made for scrub;
We all bathed in a big wash tub.
Our car, “Lil Abner”, really ran good;
It had running boards and a goat on the hood.
Dad traded it off, which I still regret;
I have dreams about the old car yet.

It was back in 1952—etc.
Last verse–
Fifty years later I looked for our place
It came back as a memory I cannot erase;
The farm is gone and the dirt roads are paved;
But everything I lost is a memory saved.
I hate the last verse. It doesn’t seem to sum things up neatly. Maybe this struggle with a developing poem will be an incentive for others to keep on trying.

Another attempt at a summary verse–

The farm was gone, without leaving a trace;
Fifty years later as I looked for our place;
The hills were leveled; the dirt roads were paved;
But, all that I lost is by memory saved.
How about–
But all that I lost my memory has saved. Or
Nothing was left but the memories saved.
Any advice?

I’ll go with
Nothing was left but the memories saved.