Pastoral by Jeremiah Burrow

vt ruin

Against an autumn background
I fall again
into pastures not mine,

Through young woods I walk
(the old giants have all been felled)
and grow tired;
the footpath is overgrown

and hard to keep.
I stop and rest
upon an old pasture wall—
where are the sheep, the range?

I am this stone wall,
piece-worn by century and half again
of trespass and weathers,
fallen to ruin.

Jeremiah Burrow writes from Vermont where he is busy getting Stone Cairn Press off the ground. Check out the recent call for submissions. Burrow has published at WIZ, among other places, and more of Jeremiah’s poems are forthcoming next month at Four and Twenty: Short Form Poetry.

4 thoughts on “Pastoral by Jeremiah Burrow”

  1. I think more of cairns than sheepfolds when I look at this picture, but I suppose that’s the point: even growing places–like souls–can be overgrown in time.

  2. Vermont forests, almost two hundred years ago, had nearly all been cleared, and the land was used primarily as range for Merino sheep. In 1837 there were over one million sheep in Vermont. When the wool market declined later that century, people started leaving Vermont for better land further west. Vermont’s forests began to recover. Today Vermont is nearly completely reforested. It is common to find old stone walls, cellar holes and other stone structures in the woods today. This picture was taken down the road from my house on the banks of the Winhall river. It was, I think, part of an old mill.

  3. “… where are the sheep, the range?”

    I find this question poignant. It comes out of the past and hits one of those old crumbles and cairns, stops dead.

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