The Last Friday

The Last Friday is a poetry editing group. Once a month, we post a poem and then offer feedback to the other poems on the Forum. We're a friendly but honest group. We value each other deeply and desire for every poet to be published or become famous.

    What help could you offer to make it better?



    What help could you offer to make it better?

    Post  dennis20 on Thu Aug 23, 2012 5:54 pm


    Old Barns

    Each passing year I grow fonder

    of old barns  and how they stand


    so proud and defiant of December winds

    and April showers.  They hold themselves


    as if it doesn’t matter what the weather

    has in store.  They can and will take it


    and even take on the color of the season

    by putting on a coat of green or gray


    and a gaiety or suffering.  They rejoice

    with the singing of nesters in the eaves


    or suffer with the heat or cold with grunts

    and groans in their rafters.  They keep vigil


    and never need a sign of encouragement

    but seem to stand in innocence whether


    among trees and flower or waist high weeds.

    They are poised in perfect light


    ready for picture taking.  There must be knowledge

    there but it never makes the picture.



    Posts : 635
    Join date : 2011-09-12

    I too love old barns.

    Post  Pat on Sat Aug 25, 2012 10:46 am

    Dennis, I don't know if you need the first four lines or not. We are going to see how fond you are of barns. You embrace them. Of course they have their own beauty and you love them. You are going to show us. I'm just thinking about barns: they hold things, keep things: hay, leaning tools, animals, etc. They have history. Some sag and settle and get wounded before they finally fall in. I've traveled country roads to just take photos of barns. Colorful. Beautiful. I like your topic.

    They hold themselves. . . hmm. Might be a good place for a metaphor: like defiant grandfathers or they become proud soldiers holding ground, etc. You get the idea. When you speak of taking on color/ gray or green, I then thought of camouflage! : ) Like soldiers willing to die for the ground. Protectiveness from weather, storms. This is just how my mind worked. Take what you want and leave the rest. I'll play it out: while on duty, they can still rejoice. . . nesters, etc. I like the sounds: grunts and groans, maybe popping when you step on the floorboards. They keep vigil, so they ARE protective and caretaking. One image we can identify with and I'd run with it. . . . soldier, grandfather, etc. I'd make it a masculine image because barns are hard labor related. I'd name the trees/flowers/weeds or describe them. . . whatever. Be particular. I usually see leafy trees nearby, maybe a shade tree. Flowers: butterfly weed (it's orange and a wildflower) or big hydrangas (never in Texas. . . must be where it rains now and then to survive the sun. . . always in the shade and faces north. After saying all that, I'd go with butterfly weed or sunflowers! More common around barns and abandoned areas. Poised. . . think about your image. . . hmmm. I don't know if a caregiver would poise or not. . . maybe so. . . maybe lean or settle? What is the perfect light? I'd describe. Is the sun hanging high in the sky? So this old barn has knowledge but it never comes through? Is that what you are saying? I hear hard-working, strength but aged. It has done its job. In fact, it is still grounded. Maybe I'm reading too much into it. I'll let the guys take it from here. Remember, just take what fits from me. . . . Pat


    The generic old barn

    Post  dennis20 on Sat Aug 25, 2012 1:09 pm

    Thanks Pat,   I wrote in brief about old barns in the generic sense, not as to a specific barn.  Wherever you find these things they are all unique yet alike in certain ways--thus the groans in the rafter, over run with trees or weeds, etc.  I see the value in your thoughts and think if I were writing about a specific barn I would add a number of your suggestions.  My thought was to have you see in your mind's eye those old barns you've seen down the road somewhere and think,  how has he seen that barn? With this thumbnail sketch, you add the details you saw in your old barn to make the picture complete.  I don't think you can ever take a bad picture of an old barn.  I will keep your suggestions because I see ways to use them.  Thanks again.  

    Dewell H. Byrd

    Posts : 360
    Join date : 2012-01-05
    Age : 87
    Location : Central Point, OR

    Old Barns...

    Post  Dewell H. Byrd on Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:27 pm

    Wonderful subject, Dennis... all the pictures and paintings I've see of old barns captivate me, stir my imagination as do covered bridges. Your perfect light line leaves me stumped. Don't they generate an aura of light as well as reflect it? Or did I miss the point? Some of the things I look for in old barns or houses are: echoes, memories, cobwebs, ghoasts-of-time... I am comfortable with your poem and reluctant to pick at it. It brings focus for me yet allows room for me to quietly step inside. There are some creaks and squeaks as the owls and bats come to roost. There is something about the rooves of old barns that defy seasons-marching-by.

    This poem seems to come close to personification... perhaps a later poem may focus on one specific old barn and add more elements... Pat's flowers? I see star thistle, wild asters, wild oats and weeds (weed;that plant for which no value is yet assigned).

    Good work, My Friend. Revise, revise. Dewell (I still can't find spellcheck on yahoo except in email.)

    Posts : 597
    Join date : 2011-05-21

    Love the topic

    Post  tsukany on Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:49 pm

    I am saddened that the barn population in our area is nearly extinct. We will need more poets to picture them. (I need to join the crowd soon...challenge received)

    I would tighten things a bit:

    Old Barns

    Stand proud and defiant to December winds
    and April showers. They hold themselves

    I would love to see the revision.



    picture this barn

    Post  dennis20 on Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:28 pm


    Finally Stable


    Above the leaning double door,

    a horseshoe clings to a bent nail—

    an epitaph on a mausoleum.

    A cracked collar hangs in the hall

    like a sepia oval photo,

    too dingy to reveal faces in the frame.


    Weathered tin-roof creaks out and in

    with moon and wind.  Eerie voices

    in the rafters echo laughter of yesteryear

    and dusty straw holds children

    looking out knotholes

    into the future.  There, the first kiss and

    shared cigarette-on-a-dare still vibrates,

    but only on spider webs.


    Leather harness on the wall,

    horse-shaped, throws up ears and listens

    for distant hoof beats,

    ready for “Ole Dan” and work time.

    Clip-clops answer to “giddy-up”

    as summer breeze stirs sweat and horseflies.


    The brawny chest of an anvil in a dusty corner

    awaits ringing strokes of a heavy hammer

    shaping sharpness to shoes and plow

    while the oil on farrier’s workbench,

    stains oak in dank and musk.


    A treasure tin holds arrow heads,

    an agate, and a tiny, frazzled trout hook

    open to the air of suggestion of its owner.


    The swaybacked barn makes its bed

    with the rest of the dead in the bone yard;

    the spine of the falling fence, the dry throat

    of the loading chute, and the ribs of the hay rake,

    all buried in tall, brown grass

    that waves goodbye.


    Posts : 597
    Join date : 2011-05-21


    Post  tsukany on Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:42 pm

    Hey Dennis

    So very different and I like the difference. I make a case for three poems: one about the inhabitants (the sepia section - stanzas 1-2), the barn interior details (stanzas 3-5) and the last stanza (I really like that poem...almost as much as stanzas 1-2). Much better title too.

    This is pretty different from the first poem; will you tinker with it as well? You may have a quatrain of Barn poems. Halfway to a mini-chapbook! Well done.



    Posts : 635
    Join date : 2011-09-12

    I like it, Dennis. This one is up-close and personal,

    Post  Pat on Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:15 pm

    not a drive-by experience. Of course, both are legal and good. But all this imagery. . . spine, swayback, treasure tin, cigarette secret, tools, boneyard, sounds, poetics. . . on and on. It grabs me. Nice. Nice. Easy for me to envision this. Maybe I just need the slower movement and details to feel like I am there. Maybe it's about me, but this one appeals to me a lot. If you did break it into 3 poems, it would probably capture more people. What if you might keep it as it is AND break it into 3 poems, each with its own individual title? Something to play around with. And I hope you are hearing all of us say: we like old barns and they are dying out. . . mini chapbook is not a bad idea at all. . . do you get emails from Ted Badger? He has a contest going right now: it's all about mini chapbooks. (I could email it to you?) We all like this poem, Dennis. . . Pat

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