Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Poem: The Fence

The Fence

You walk in the early morning,
through the town rife with history,
the old homes with their white clapboard
punctuated with flowers,
and the unnaturally perfect green grass

until you come to the fence,
once proud and strong
like your own spirit,
but now blown by wind
and worn by age,

its paint flaking,
leaning to one side,
no longer a fortress
but instead a gate waiting
for the next storm
to push it aside

and open the gardens within
to every passerby,
a gateway about to open
the beauty beyond
to everyone,

and suddenly the fence
is more beautiful
in it's fragility,
more perfect
than it was ever meant to be.


The picture was taken in Wells, Vermont. You can click on it for a larger version.



Choices said...

Lovely poem. A wonderful way to express the signs of aging.

willow said...

I agree. This fence is much more lovely than a pristine one. I'm trying to embrace my age with grace, but unfortunately it's not always easy in this society.

Tom Atkins said...

This is one of the things I find fascinating and wonderful about poetry - how it touches people in places that the writer so often never intends. I didn't have aging in mind at all when I wrote this, and yet that is clearly what it says to at least some of you. I love that!

Shadow said...

love the turnaround! gimme that fence any day.

Nivea Snow said...

Tom, it is true that this too reminded me of my grandfather whom was quite aged as I remember him and I only knew him for a brief period of time. In that time as I look back I see the words of your poem paint a picture of him in my mind. How beautiful his soul was and how beautiful the soul of The Fence.

Derrick said...

Hi Tom,

Although you may not have intended it, your poem does speak of age. If not the aging process itself, then perhaps that with age we soften a little; don't maintain such a strong protective shield around ourselves and therefore provide glimpses of the inner person. That our fragilty is becoming.

Gerry Boyd said...

"and suddenly the fence
is more beautiful
in it's fragility,
more perfect
than it was ever meant to be."

That's just magic, a moment frozen in time.


The lady in Red said...

Dear Tom, very inspiring Poem. It is impressive how you can take great ideas from simple things of life. The fence really reflects our age. Fortunately, there are Gyms, many activities that we can do for us to keep "fine", lol, I liked your post very much!
Best wishes,

Jenny said...


I stumbled upon your blog and found the posts very intersting and well-written indeed.

I love how this poem goes through different passages and how the fragil fence no longer is able to hide: "the beauty beyond". It reminds me of how flowers sometimes start to grow up from the asphalt.



FireLight said...

"a gate waiting for the next storm"...
The longer we weather storms, the stronger we become in spirit, even if the storms leave their mark on us or take some of our newness away...true of people, houses, fences, and ancient oak trees...
This is a fine effort, Tom.