R. G. Bell
A Romantic (Translated) - Poem by R. G. Bell
A Romantic (Translated)
You can see the house, or what was
A house, there, in the field that was a field
When rail, not barbed-wire fences made it one.
I suppose there's hardly one plank nailed
To another now, but picture it a house.
(Yes, there are the decaying remains of a
shack in the field he speaks of.)
If you ask about these parts you may yet find
A few who know the names of those who built
The place to keep fire in and water out.
(No, the last man who knew the family's
name died, with tubes in his nose and arms,
in a nursing home eight years ago without
thinking the knowledge worth passing on.)
The husband abandoned the city's complications
And brought his bride west to find a simpler way.
(He fled creditors and maintained a low
profile in the wilderness.)
She, though not comely, was beautiful
In her devotion, and followed without question.
(She was scarred by a pox and never lived
to be as old as she looked. When the move
came she cried for weeks, but would not
compound the fault of marrying a no-good
by leaving him.)
In their new woodland home their love
(his lack of other diversion)
brought forth six strong children
(And four miscarriages and two who died
in their first year)
who early on learned
The simple ways of their parents, the hearth
And field being classrooms for all
They would ever know of life, or need to know.
(They were all put to work at the age of three
and couldn't be spared for school.)
They were raised with strictness tempered with love,
And taught right from wrong by a firm hand.
(If their father loved them he never said it,
but when drunk would reward a perceived wrong
with a strap. Cost one boy an eye.)
And as they became men and women
Each in his own time set out on his own.
(As the father was bent and old by forty and
began losing his grip, they left. Two in
one night, together, without a word.)
To find lives much like their elders had found.
(Only one of them lived past forty-eight.)
Their descendants, numerous in the area today,
Look back on them with reverence and wonder.
(There are in dresser drawers scattered about the
county, unidentified pictures of people
thought to have been kin.)
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