General Poetry posted July 7, 2021

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A free verse poem covering centuries

Ohio History

by Jill McCauslin

Once, a house stood here.
Now, daffodils bloom along the stone foundation, like flowers 
left in an abandoned graveyard.
Nothing remains of this farm 
except yellow flowers blooming deep 
within this forest,
and large round stones 
strewn amongst the trees 
once a house stood here.
once a family lived here.

How long ago
did they clear the old woods to till this land?
And then, how long for this second growth to reclaim this land?

As the settlers swarmed into Ohio, 
claiming plots to farm, 
they displaced
the Shawnee 
the Erie 
the Iroquois
with the rights given to them by Washington and God.

Once, a house stood here.
And here a village with a church 
and school and neighbors, connected to the world
by a canal. 
Now, all is gone. 
First the canals displaced by trains 
fifteen miles too far from here. 
Families dispersed by steel mills calling 
to their sons, 
factories replacing their farms
with city bungalows.

And now those mills and factories, 
also gone, replaced with 
fast food restaurants. 

The bungalows, falling into decay, replaced by exurbs
closer to that old farm and these woods.

Once, a house stood here, 
surrounded by fields 
plowed with a horse and planted by a farmer’s hand. 
A house filled with children born to work the land. 
Now all is gone,
except these once domestic daffodils 
planted by a farmer’s wife 
wanting beauty and color after the grays of winter. 

These feral flowers flourish in a forest 
that may one day return to its primeval state.

Here, in this place with flowers and rocks and memories,
Once a house stood here.


Free Verse Poetry Contest contest entry


I've worked on this poem for a while and would appreciate knowing what others think.

Image by Gert Spieƃ?hofer from Pixabay
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