Stone Wall in the Woods
lichen-stained stones appears as
I walk in deep woods. Flat slabs
of shale, placed in orderly rows,
wind half a mile next to towering
maples then stones fall into disarray.
I admire the artistry and wonder
about the wall’s strange location.
My forefathers crowbarred these
stones from glaciated fields;
strained as they piled them on a
cumbersome wooden sled hauled
a mile or more by dapple greys.
Plenty of rocks on this farm—
cheaper than barbed wire—horse
and human sweat the only cost.
And why this wall in the woods?
Maybe a century ago cattle
grazed here or the stones set
a boundary keeping neighbor’s
cows out. My fingers caress the
carefully placed slabs that callused
hands put here with no thought of
Inspired by visits to the farm in Sullivan County, New York, where I grew up.