A while ago, one of our readers, Joe Masterleo, sent me one of his poems entitled “A Barn.” I really liked it and thought you might enjoy it too–especially those of you who, like me, actually had or currently have a barn in your life. Joe lives with his wife Ruth in Jamesville, NY. He is a clinical social worker specializing in faith-based counseling. Here’s Joe’s poem that captures “the spirit of every barn.” I found some beautiful pictures (on pexels) that also capture that same spirit.
“A Barn” by Joe Masterleo
A barn is a cathedral, long and wide; a monument to the countryside;
made of stone, steel, and wood; plain and steady, and misunderstood.
Peppering hillsides high and low, with weathervane and silo;
a structure that is seasoned or old, giving shelter from rain and cold.
A place of lofts, beams, and stalls, few windows and overalls;
where life is teeming, born and bred, with much to do and little said.
Rugged dwellings and simple decors, strange odors and dirty floors;
a home for cats, birds, and owls, dirty hands and no towels.
A garage for tractors, wagons, hay, and little time to get away.
A storehouse for a season’s crop; a place to chat when neighbors stop.
A workshop open at all times; a source of grunts, snorts, and whines.
Where hens gather and roosters crow, and livestock huddle at ten below.
A place for forks, shovels, and wrenches, or odds and ends on tool benches;
oil cans, saws, rusty nails, milking stools and water pails.
a symbol for all work and toil; a place to change the tractor oil.
Where moms and dads and kids pitch in, with neighbors, friends, and next of kin.
Where boys become men, forge and hammered, disciplined and mild-mannered.
A place to labor night and day, to keep the creditors away.
Where workers are steadfast and able, making provision for their table.
A common shed much overlooked, where God was born when rooms were booked.
The sacred temple of every farm, a nation’s mainstay, and right arm.
Did any of the words, images, pictures speak to you today?
Here are some facts: In 1850, 64% of the U.S. population lived on farms; in 1920 it was 30.2; in 2008, it was less than 2%. Have we “lost” anything as a people with this decline?
Have you had any experiences with barns that you would like to share? Do you have an experience with farming or farmers that you would like to share with us?
PS: I will be giving a Zoom weekend retreat, Oct. 2-4 sponsored by Mount St. Joseph Conference and Retreat Center in Maple Mount, KY. The weekend is entitled “Holding onto Hope” and runs from Friday evening to Sunday lunch. You can attend in person (single occupancy $190, commuters $90) or online ($60). Check out their website for more details: ursulinesmsj.org.
I’m giving you a choice of three videos that celebrate farmers and farming. The first is a country song by Luke Bryan, “Here’s to the Farmer.” Next is a short piece by Paul Harvey (remember him?) called “So God Made a Farmer.” And finally, there’s “God Made a Farmer’s Wife,” in honor of a real farmer’s wife’s 90th birthday.
Here’s to the farmer:
Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer”:
“God Made a Farmer’s Wife,” a tribute to a real farmer’s wife:
I invite you to respond below to anything in today’s blog.