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Poetry Magnum Opus



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A stroke of luck in hard times,

the new owner of an ancient home

wants all stone walls repaired,

a skill possessed by few men

in the valley, one unschooled

except for his hands and the past.


He began with a wonderful old base,

except for a few failings where runoff

water had made holes as the

ground shifted. The same old rock still

grew from the ground, providing perfectly

weather-worn stones to fit the wall—now his wall.


The old man worked on no schedule

except one set by the task, understood

with a handshake over details of the deal.

The new owner wanted the past recovered

and the stone man knew what that meant,

having worked these bulks and the earth for

all of his years since the Great Depression.


Two days of searching and hauling

in his wheelbarrow brought the fillers

to solidify the base. No cement, the stones

melded to leave little space for movement,

held by friction and gravity with maximum

surface contact. Perfect vertical backing checked

and rechecked as the stones took their place,

to settle over the coming years.


The craftsman wore no gloves, his callused hands

relishing the heft and roughness, the feel of dirt.

Larger stones find their places in the front and bottom

as the wall grows to its former shape with the same

materials from the nearby world.

Stakes and strings help keep the wall even

and vertical. The stone worker gives no thought

to pleasing the owner, but pleasing his sense of work.


Long rocks set into the wall to help hold it together,

and heavy ones cap the level top.

He digs a drainage ditch on the uphill side and fills

It with stone rubble to carry the rain to the drainage

pipes replaced after more than a century. After

three months, he stands back to assure the proper

wall width, level to the eye and pleasing.


He will watch the wall through the years as he

and his construction ages. He and the wall will

stand firm without any other choice. The owner

will also admire through the years and congratulate

himself for having found the bare hands artist

whom he knows was underpaid, not knowing

that the old man had grown rich on the job.

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David W. Parsley

This piece reminds me of the better long works of William Carlos Williams, or even Robert Frost. Much of what is poetic here is sometimes known as "found poetry." I like the appeal to human dignity, the desire to create something out of a heritage on the verge of being permanently lost. The passion to make it well, make it to last. For me there is particular appeal in the closing lines, the obliviousness of the so-called Have to the real rewards that can come to the Have Not, a smugness that is its own reward contrasted with that seized and worked by bare hands wrought from the heart.

- Dave

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Dave. Thank you. So rewarding when someone understands your thoughts. Certainly, I am embarrassed to be compared to such great poets, but I like your term "found poetry." This is a semi-true story of an old guy working on the newly purchased wall. I walked daily on that road and sometimes stopped to talk when I would not interrupt his work. I could feel his pride, and I, myself, am pleased with the artistry in the wall.


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Larsen M. Callirhoe

*wow* this does remind me of one of robert frost's poems lol.never heard of the other poet. this poem shows a tremedous thought process of learned wisdom. i didn't see anything (tapestry) on the wall. i guess analogy here might be you are born (enter) in the world with nothing and you leave (exit) the world with nothing. maybe that was not the perspective or angle you meant to get accross here. i do think deeeply with what i read and respond with. i am known to get in heated verbal vernacular tantrums since my accident because of personal reasons and i can'twalk away. .*i* really mean no harm. but you can not go back and turn the hands of time no matter what you do. i don;'t think i react sometimes. i still haven't figured out what some one else says or does (like me i mean) will come back to you no matter how you interact. i feel realy low for verbal abusing you (assulting you). i was dead wrong and out of place. i guess something you wrote must of set my short fuse or set my spark plug off.. though i reread everything to that event and don't what it was. i have deleted everything of that bariage of words i demeanored you with. i feel bad. i will admit i was dead wrong and you did nothing wrong. i will also admit might have read something wrong. i amheavily medicated on pain meds and i might have halluncinated something, but that is still no excuse. sometimesi getsecptic and with pain meds i go into thingsi should not even bother havingsaid. italk to spirits. i can't walk away anymore because i am a incomplete quadriplegic. iam paralyed from the nipples down. both my brother and i are levite priests and we see spirits. as for your poem you show wisdom and show the reader after a lifetime of hardworkand the writing on the wal lwill fade to nothingness anyway. but theessencewill always exist. great poem,,, one of your best.


i hope we can start over


i am called michael by my family but my friends call me victornow or lash...

Larsen M. Callirhoe

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Victor, I bear no grudges--a waste of time. I have ignored your comments because I don't need anymore controversy in my life. You often tell us of your woes, and I am sorry you have to suffer, but you know nothing of my condition or of some others here. Thank you for commenting on my "found poem."

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Victor, now I must apologize to you. I spoke without thinking what effect my words might have on you. Sorry, but I have known so many that experienced the worst things possible. Sometimes I am far too critical.

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Larsen M. Callirhoe

hi geogff nothing negative will come from me again hostility wise, i don't want you to get up set if you see ai post making a comment on a writing of yours.


I actually don't deserve a apology. i am human and did something that was not appropriate. it is in the past. and it is over.


i enyoyed your poem. i am turning a new leaf in my poems. i am redoing all my negative poetry. i wll keep copes of them but post only positive poetry. there is a few poems i have writte nrecently that do not tak about my situation very much anymore. may be i should have been more aware of why i should have not posted like a 100 negative poems i wrote in the past. i might am only going to write positive poetry now. i see that no one understands or relates to what i write even if god gives it to me himself. i have never had a good friend other then my brother and a friend who is out of my life now.


many people bare they're all even when they write melancholy poetry. i see something in my writings that i can change tha twill make my writings less

accusing. this will make me a better human being.. i am improving and i ask for feedback. iwill make no excuses. what's the point. i want to be acquiantance poetry friends. we do have to be any other type of friends. i have a beaufiful childhood. after that you work hard in lifeas you get older some figure it out some do not.


this is your poem a master piece. on the wall (is your essence) make repairs on the wall (your essence) out of life what happens thn you look at the wall later ( older essence of what brought thru life moldng you like fine wine!) .You reflect taking pride it stayed in place though age. it had a rugged look now butitwas wise to still be there till he withers and no longer sustains himself just like the weather does to the wall.then someone else makes the wall repairing 9it. then the man becomes thewall to experience something else. i really enjoyed this.

Larsen M. Callirhoe

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