Thursday, August 18, 2011

abandoned america iv

The Barn and the Down

It stood in the sunset sky
Like the straight-backed down,
Many a time - the barn
At the edge of the town,

So hug and dark that it seemed
It was the hill
Till the gable's precipice proved
it impossible.

The great down in the west
Grew into sight,
A barn stored full to the ridge
With black of night;

And the barn fell to a barn
Or even less
Before critical eyes and its own
Late mightiness.

But far down and near barn and I
Since then have smiled,
Having seen my new cautiousness
By itself beguiled

To disdain what seemed the barn
Till a few steps changed
It past all doubt to the down;
So the barn was avenged.

Edward Thomas

click to embiggen


  1. That first photograph is wonderful : there are so many surfaces, so many tactile connections. The kind of picture you can walk around within - like a well-stocked garden.

  2. Thank you, Alan. It's one of my favorites from that particular shoot.

  3. BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week series is currently serialising Matthew Hollis' book 'Now All Roads Lead To France', an account of Edward Thomas' last few years. Haven't read it and I only heard a fragment of the R4 programme, but here's a poet who needs to be brought up level with Sassoon and Owen. So thanks for the poem, Tess.

  4. I like that what humans considered abandoned is really a tenement of natures wee refugees from ever broadening encroachment. The Owls are grateful indeed!..Cheers mate! Lovely work!

  5. You know me and my loves...spent the afternoon yesterday taking portraits of my old friends...the barns.

  6. A wonderful juxtaposition of words and image.
    Beautifully done.

  7. I love that barn! And all barns have always been my favorites.

  8. I just love that lower picture. Underneath the tin roof one can still see the original shingles; they've simply nailed the tin over the top. Labour saving and wonderful!

  9. What a lovely way to start my time at the computer today. Poem and pictures are one here. Thank you so much for this entry!

  10. a beautiful moment in time and you captured it to perfection :)

  11. I love these old pictures Tess - travelling round America over the years you often see these old ruins and they look so picturesque. Not sure I would like one outside my own front door though.

  12. I love all the textures of old barns. The top photo has such great corrugated walls and treads of the tires. We often stop on the road to take a picture of great old barns barns.

  13. Click here for Matthew Hollis's article in the Grauniad about Edward Thomas and Robert Frost ...

  14. It reminds me of near Winston

  15. R.A.D., thank you for the link to the excellent article on Thomas and Frost. It's well worth the read!

  16. Great photo and verses, Tess. Those tyres would still be roadworthy in the UK by the look of it:)

  17. The photo reminds me of rubber rationing during WWII. The barns and sheds were filled with worn tires and inner tubes sporting many hot and cold patches. I looted old shed, sometimes, looking for a real rubber inner tube so I could cut strips out of it and use them on the forked stick sling shot I had. Man, the railroad provided all the stones I could shoot in my lifetime. What a life being a kid was.

  18. That WAS an interesting article about Frost/Thomas! and love your continuing series of abandoned america pix, Tess!

  19. Cool textures- there are many old barns in our hood- they are all awesome and in various states of disrepair.
    You first photo reminded me of the all time worst film in all existence-"RUBBER" avoid it at all cost...You will never view a tire in the same way.

  20. Along with old barns here in the Northwest, I am finding old silos, which are eager to pose for you it seems. Saw an old barn in Roy, WA this morning, half fallen down, big one--but on private property that is occupied. Nothing to do but put hat in hand and knock on the door, and ask permission to shoot.

  21. Captured barns
    in the sunny day

    4 summers
    1 snow
    the spare?

    Must have gone
    in winter
    snow treads
    still mounted

    Heading north
    getting out
    of town

    The summers
    could stay,
    like bathing suits
    in January,
    Who could imagine
    a need?

    Hey, those weren’t the ones
    from that Pontiac?
    broke down
    sold as is
    tires forgot?

    If hay could speak
    What tales, what tales

    Walls all lined
    like wrinkled brows
    keeping silent
    what tales

    Willow tales
    and the manor of it all

    Earth bound
    small feet
    standing in fields
    looking around.

  22. Willow tales! I love this. Thank you, Anon.

  23. Wonderful photos for the words.

  24. thank you Ms Tess

  25. I like both images, the poem too.

  26. I like your words...well matched to the images. Can't you just hear the sound of rain on those metal walls and roof?

  27. barns are so fascinating, aren't they? and i love your photograph - it captures the "personality" of the crumbling old structure.

  28. Abandon America? What a great title!! and the barn? whew, a sureshot of days gone by.. love the read! When a see an old barn, my mind travels back to those days at the speed of lightening! How they looked in their golden days and what happened to the people! :)

  29. the first photo is lovely with all the lines and the round tires.

    I'll check out the article.

  30. wonderful article about Frost and Thomas. thanks RAD and Willow

  31. Is the picture really taken in america? Im just curious as I used to see abandoned houses in the third world countries.

    Cassy from Acoustic Guitar Lessons

  32. Yes, Cassy, it was taken in America. I took this photo in Dublin, Ohio.

  33. I love your barn series. Such stories they do tell, most often bittersweet. Marvelous pairing of the poem also.
    Thank you for sharing them.

  34. Barns, there may exist as many as one could count on one hand in my city. No matter, they exist in my mind large enough.

    PS: Sorry to be a pest, but I think there may be a typo in one stanza:

    "The the great down in the west
    Grew into sight,"

    (the repetition of "the")


  35. Thank you, Terresa, you are so right...

  36. Poignant. Wonderful photography.

  37. This is an evocative poem,which you have set perfectly with pictures. I enjoyed it.


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)