Sentry on the Crossroad

Well, sometimes life comes along and shakes up the morning writing routine. I was up late knitting last night, so I was not writing my poem with the dawning day. I was hitting the snooze function on my phone alarm when the Septic Tank Man Cometh. The poetry writing was on hold until later. He was early. The Poetry Daily was going to be slightly delayed.

One of the realities of living in a rural setting is that every now and then you need to have your septic tank emptied of its earthy contents. It’s a big production because our percolation is around seventy metres from the house and it is a challenge to find a provider with a long enough hose.

Anyway, it was teeming rain and it was all hands to the pump. Well, not literally. That was just Frank. His truck was as wide as our lane. One of us had to remain at the house and another needed to walk down the lane to the crossroads to warn any oncoming traffic that the way was blocked.

I volunteered for that duty to be away from the noise and activity. Way too busy for me first thing. I stood sentry at the three-way cross that in Britain they call a T-junction, but in Ireland is still considered a cross. And why not? You can have three-armed Brigit’s crosses as well as the traditional four-armed one.

There were four cars in all who passed that way, which kind of counts as rush hour for us. Three wanted to turn off the lane on to what locals call the Relic Road, since it passes by the ruins of the old Protestant cemetary. I only had to turn one driver back and he didn’t entirely believe me and wound up having to reverse into the neighbour’s barn yard and come back on himself. Perhaps, with less than one cup of tea in me, I was not forceful or positive enough in my messaging. Or maybe he’s the kind of man that never trusts a woman’s judgement when it comes to driving down a road.

I was not over perturbed. I had me a nice beech tree to shelter under as the rain teamed down. Frank, the McBreen Environmental Man, sent my husband to fetch me back into the house out of the rain. Rain not being a fitting place for a wife I suppose. I held my ground under my beech tree. Damned if I was going to have my nice poetry forming thoughts interrupted by all that busy-ness.

And as it turns out I will be on sentry duty again tomorrow morning, because the hose wasn’t long enough to reach the final chamber of the percolation. Better get to bed early tonight! Or I shall be thinking poetic thoughts under dripping boughs again tomorrow morning.

Standing Sentry at the Relic Road

Standing under dripping tree limbs
with beech mast at my feet,
the nuts hanging above
clinging on with their velcro fuzz
and me considering seraphim.

Stop and stand in a single spot
you either notice everything,
or ignore the whole lot.
It's just your thoughts and leaves
becoming a green, blurred blot.

But then I began to name the neighbours
both the relics and the living, too -
hazel, birch, alder, beech
and the red squirrels that come
to this crossroad for nuts to eat.

The fireweed has taken up residence
where the ground has been disturbed.
We're both blow-ins, fireweed and me.
Or maybe we are all emigrants.
Even the seeds of these trees
deposited season's past by passing birds.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

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