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Old 11-04-2013, 09:33 AM
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A stroke of luck in hard times,
the new owner of an ancient home
wanted his stone wall repaired,
a skill possessed by few men
in the valley, one unschooled
but through his hands and history.

The artisan began with a wonderful old base
except for trailing courses that runoff
water had made where the ground
had shifted. The same aged rocks still
grew from the ground, providing perfectly
weather-worn stones to fit the wall—now his wall.

The old man worked on no schedule
except one set by the task, understood
with a handshake over details of the deal.
The owner wanted the past recovered
and the stone man knew what that meant,
having worked these bulks for all his
years since the Great Depression.

Two days of searching and hauling
brought the fillers in his wheelbarrow
to solidify the base. No cement, stones
melded to leave little space for movement,
held by friction and gravity with maximum
surface contact, plumbed vertical backing
rechecked as the stones took their place
to settle over the coming years.

The craftsman wore no gloves, his callused hands
relishing the heft and roughness, the feel of dirt.
Larger stones found their place, front and bottom,
as the wall grew to its former shape
with material from the nearby terrain.
Stakes and strings helped keep the wall even
and vertical. The stone-worker gave no thought
to pleasing the owner, just pleasing his own senses.

Long rocks set into the wall held it together,
and heavy ones capped the level top.
A drainage ditch on the uphill side filled
with stone rubble will carry rain to drainage
pipes replaced after more than a century.
Three months later, he stood back to assure
proper wall width, pleasing to his satisfied eyes.

He will watch the wall through the years as he
and his construction ages. He and the wall will
stand firm without choice. The owner will also
admire the work and congratulate himself
for having found the underpaid artist, not knowing
that the old man had grown rich on the job.


Last edited by Franklin; 11-05-2013 at 07:01 AM..
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:50 AM
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Regret this reads ponderously to me, like the weight of one of those stones. Wish I could be more enthusiastic!

Lance
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Old 11-04-2013, 11:11 AM
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We each have our own tastes. Thanks.
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:34 PM
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Yeah maybe it could be shorter, tighter and all that, but I love the idea and esp.the ending.
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:48 PM
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Takes a long time and a lot of work to build a stone wall.
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Old 11-04-2013, 03:39 PM
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I’ve read this a few times now, the more I read it the greater it grows on me. Like the wall, I think this has been well crafted. Although, in terms of style, it has a mid 20c feel to it, is that such an awful thing? I think that’s its charm that just wouldn’t work, especially given the subject, written with a 21c pen.

Well done.



xDrew
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Old 11-04-2013, 04:44 PM
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Not certain if that's a compliment or a dis, but thank you for giving the piece consideration. I confess to writing this in the 20th century. Years ago, I walked a country road and talked almost daily with the old guy rebuilding the wall. He was interested in my opinion of his work. I told him I did not feel qualified to comment, except that I truly liked his work, and that I was glad I didn't have to do it.
Franklin/Paco
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Old 11-04-2013, 04:50 PM
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No dis at all.


xDrew
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Old 11-05-2013, 06:15 AM
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Loved it! Ageless like the wall, it will stand when works of lesser craft have crumbled and fallen into tumble down by the road. Kirk
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Old 11-05-2013, 07:11 AM
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Welcome praise indeed, KBR. Maybe I'll drive out to Gander's Lane and take another look at the retaining wall. Maybe I'll see something new, or better yet, something old.
Paco
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Old 11-08-2013, 03:15 AM
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The last two lines make it.
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