Here’s a stripped-down piece by Steve Gerson, “Once Planed Straight,” that describes the process and result of natural decline. The naturalism in the tone commands. Enjoy!
By the way, we’ve added video capability to our site. Please enjoy watching Steve read his poem below! You can read along with the text that follows.
Once Planed Straight
The barn leaning leeward,
Buffeted by the plain’s prevalent winds,
Recollects harvests cast away.
Boards, missing in halves and thirds,
Moan like wind through marrowless bones,
Barely enough batten standing sturdy to right what remains.
Fringing the boarded base, broken wheat shafts
Angle unnaturally, no longer seeking the sun
But wearied by wind and lost purpose.
Offering a slanted view within and without,
A wicket gate placed in the barn door
Hangs on missing bolts, rusted Kodachrome amber.
The barn’s truth, once planed straight,
Now looks instead askew.
Steve Gerson is an emeritus professor who has spent his entire life focusing on academic publications. Now in retirement, he has the opportunity to think . . . and to write creatively rather than academically, to release his inner poet.