Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Leafing through a magazine recently, I ran onto a picture of an old barn. On top of the roof was an ancient weather vane, a sheet metal figure of a farmyard rooster, badly used by the years and covered with layers of flaky rust, but still looking kind of proud and cocky and master of all it surveyed. I recalled a poem I once wrote about an old rooster; in his prime, a real "cock of the walk," but at last brought down a peg or two by the years. And by his younger, abler competitors.
Writing about real live people is usually not too difficult. Coming up with stories and rhymes about the fields and streams and the hills and valleys and the plants and animals that live and make their homes there is often no great strain. And the changes of the four seasons can readily inspire a few lines. Old memories frequently churn up tales of days long gone by. But writing about an inanimate object – something like a rusty old weather vane – at times requires shaking loose a little imagination. And yet, the staunch old fellow was still standing there at his post after all those years, perhaps it is no more than right that someone should tell his story. What the heck? We'll give it a try:


Atop the old red barn's
Steep, shingled roof
Stood a sentry brave,
So proud and aloof.

He was no great hero,
Saving the farm
And the large farmyard flock
From grave, certain harm,

Yet he was lord of all
That he surveyed.
From that high vantage point,
He had never strayed.

For sixty years he'd perched
Up there and so,
He'd seen both the good and
Bad times come and go.

With each change of the wind,
He moved around,
But this weather vane cock
Could crow not one sound.

Crafted by a blacksmith
So folks could know
From just which direction
Each day's winds did blow.

At times he looked lonely –
Sad, now and then –
The blacksmith should have made
A sheet metal hen

To share with him his roof
And lonely life,
To have and to hold, and
Be his loving wife.

He had no feather coat
To comb or preen,
But just stood proudly there
Where he could be seen.

When the rains washed him clean
Of barnyard dust,
He'd be neatly dressed in
His brown coat of rust.

But the world rolls around
And time goes by.
Nothing lasts forever,
Neither you nor I,

And our weather vane cock
Bid us all adieu
When his old pivot post
Just rusted right through.

Then a gusty breeze brought
A blur of brown,
Blew him from his high perch,
And tumbled him down.

We never dreamed he'd meet
Such a tragic end,
But still look up, and miss,
Our old metal friend.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! Nicley done. I carry a fondness for old inanimate objects (treasures). It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.