old barn door

Lillian is opening the doors of the poets’ pub at dVerse…join us!



hip-roofed, wood frame barn
built in nineteen thirty-six
(the year scrawled on wall)
proudly presides over all on
Iowa farmyard/homestead

split-door is half invitation
to go ahead, peek inside;
smell leftover manure,
hay, veterinary medicinals
for former/current residents

lift latch-hook, swing open
duck, step over threshold;
lean against rough y-post,
finger a knotted bale twine
and feel cobwebs brush face

listen for echoes, stories of
past and present agriculture:
work horse munching oats
piglets nuzzle as sow grunts
new kittens mew, mama purrs

beady-eyed boss hen clucks
proudly in her nest-box row,
rusty elevator squeaks as
crew moves/stacks straw,
voices of boys play in loft

close door quick, keep calf in!

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. rothpoetry
    Mar 06, 2020 @ 22:08:28

    There is no place like the farm! An old barn is such a fun place to explore. You did a great job on with this poem.


  2. Charley
    May 15, 2016 @ 19:13:43

    Spent too many of my out-of-school days on a farm in northern Wisconsin. Your poem didn’t just bring back sights and sounds; it brought back the smells. As a city kid it took me a full 24 hours (at least) to get over the assault of “fresh country air.” Your poem was awesome.


    • lynn__
      May 15, 2016 @ 19:41:31

      I grew up as a city kid too…the smells can be repulsive (but living on farm you grow accustomed to animal odors). Thanks for your comment!


  3. writerwannabe763
    May 14, 2016 @ 20:47:15

    I haven’t been around too many barns, but your description made me remember the ones I did…. Diane


  4. cutezoya
    May 13, 2016 @ 07:31:01

    I’m loving this, Lynn. Nice poem and very well written. Thanks for sharing.


  5. Pamela Smyk Cleary
    May 12, 2016 @ 19:28:45

    Sweet! Brings back good memories of my grandma’s farm.


  6. Victoria C. Slotto
    May 12, 2016 @ 12:33:41

    I’m loving this, Lynn. Just this morning my husband was telling me about his pranks with his siblings when his parents would go into town and they would ride the calves. I think somewhere in my DNA there is a farmer. I know there is on my grandpa’s side. I enjoyed the many details that tell me this is or has been a part of your life and let’s me experience it with you. I don’t have to imagine the scent of horse manure though since I rode as a kid.


    • lynn__
      May 12, 2016 @ 12:39:06

      Yes, there are farmers back in my family DNA as well. I grew up in the big city but now love living a rural life. Have shoveled/ forked my share. Farms are bigger, less diversified, and old barns history…though we still find use for ours. Our sons have tried riding pigs and calves 😀 Thanks for stopping by!


  7. lynn__
    May 12, 2016 @ 07:35:01

    Thanks for commenting, Debi 🙂


  8. Debi Swim
    May 12, 2016 @ 07:17:00

    I remember the smells of my uncle’s barn. This does bring back good memories.


  9. lillian
    May 12, 2016 @ 05:48:57

    Spending sooo many of our years in Iowa, raising our children there, living for five of those years on 15 acres of land with an old barn that, at the time, was 100 years old (burned into wood above the door) — I LOVE this! And I’m so glad you included the kitten! Crazy huh? Of all the wonderful things to pick up on, I mention the kitten! Here’s why — the first farm house we rented (to see if we’d like really living in the country — not just the country town) was on a working farm including hog pens and several barns and machine sheds. We’d seen a mama-cat-to be wandering the place and then a blizzard hit. I mean a blizzard. The snow piled up so high we have a picture of me standing on a drift with the telephone wires touching my shoulder! Well, on the night of the driving snow, we heard this loud meowing and it was mama cat at our door — it was obvious she’d had her kittens. We gave her some warm milk on our porch and then I told my husband he HAD to find those kittens — the weather was terrible. He followed mama cat around for 30 minutes and finally came back looking like the guy in Dr. Zhivago with his mustach frozen etc. Nope — didn’t find the cats. Mama cat led him everywhere except to her kittens! She was probably trying to ditch my husband 🙂 About a week later, there was mama cat and all her kittens trailing beside her, playing in our yard. She knew what she was doing and had them safely stashed. We, the dumb humans, thought she needed our help! 🙂
    Ah…..long message….but your poem brought back a flood of wonderfuly Iowa memories! It’s called the Heartland for a reason 🙂 Wonderful response to the prompt and I’m so glad you posted!


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