Tuesday, June 20, 2017

School Days

image by glenn buttkus.

School Days

“The two best days of school--the first
& the last.”--Anonymous

The country school house
was abandoned in 1960,
when there just wasn’t
enough children to merit
keeping it open.

Kids grew up and became hippies.
                                           drug dealers.
                                           line cooks,
                                           doctors &
leaving all the farms
to their aging parents.

The sign fell down after its post rotted. Wild grass,
thistles and brambles grew over it, making it
disappear for years; as it became oxidation’s bitch.

The dangerous curve 
it once warned about,
claimed the life
of a nine-year old girl,
three dogs, and
a couple of raccoons. 

For a time, the few children that were left, were all
bussed twenty-three miles away to a community
cluster of schools in a small town. Now those busses
are rusting hulks in farmer’s fields. Too soon most of
the small farms were bought out by huge corporate
combines & building contractors.

Where have all the child-
ren gone? Off to the wars, more

fodder for cities.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub


brudberg said...

The way the school ends, the farms being emptied... the changes the changes... where have all the flowers gone?

You really made this into a great social commentary.

Frank Hubeny said...

I liked the "fodder for cities" where children go at the end. The grade school I went to still stands, but it is no longer used.

lillianthehomepoet.wordpress.com said...

So well done.
Reminds me of years and years ago when we lived on 15 acres in an Iowa farm house. The old one room school house down the road was only used as a polling place. And the yellow school busses kicked up dust in the fall and spring and slid all over in the snow. You write of truths here as only three family owned farms still exist there.

Grace said...

I find it so sad to see those rusting and dilapidated road signs ~ Dangerous curve signs, however, should always be up to save lives ~ Signs of the times Glenn and movement of folks to big cities sadly ~

Kim Russell said...

I know of people who collect those old signs and other memorabilia from closed down schools and other institutions.
The old school house in our village was turned into an art school and now it is a home to a lovely lady who is renovating it - it still has the old school bell in the roof. Which is one of the many reasons your poem so appeals to me, Glenn.
As an ex-teacher, particular lines pulled at my heart strings:

'The sign fell down after its post rotted. Wild grass,
thistles and brambles grew over it, making it
disappear for years; as it became oxidation’s bitch';


'Where have all the child-
ren gone? Off to the wars, more

fodder for cities'.

Sanaa Rizvi said...

This is such a powerfully written poem, Glenn! Especially; "Where have all the child-ren gone? off to the wars, more fodder for cities" left me breathless!

lynn__ said...

A sad commentary on the end of country schools and a rural lifestyle, Glenn...touched me.

Blogoratti said...

Wonderful quote and so very well written. Greetings to you.

indybev said...

Oh Glenn, this touched my heartstrings. I'm a child of one of the small farms and little rural schools. In their greed for every square foot of soil, the conglomerate farmers took out all the fencerows, and now dust storms are an annual occurrence, the pheasant and quail are gone, and most of the little farmhouses and barns are gone or going. It saddens me so.

Mish said...

Love the narrative quality of this...and "oxidation's bitch" is a killer phrase!
It's wonderful when signs are recycled into memorabilia, bringing new life to old memories.

Cedar Wind said...

Such major changes over a relatively short period of time. Bringing in the fallen sign and remnants of the school buses creates a sad ghostly feel. And indeed the industrialization of farming and dying off of farm communities is sad.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there will be a time when people begin moving back to the country?

Sumana Roy said...

Oh such visceral scenes! I have no words to express the cringing feel I had especially reading your closing lines. Some changes are so heartbreaking!

Petru Viljoen said...

Broke my heart this one. As usual the conversational tone, cloaked in poetic voice. In a comment to a previous post of mine you mentioned 'spooked grouse' - can I have it?

Liz Rice-Sosne said...

You have captured with this poem the true tone of much of society today. I really appreciate the poems ability to speak to the important things in life that just like the sign - have pretty much been lost to us. One can feel the loss - and it truly is a "sign" of the times.

Mama Zen said...

Absolutely excellent. I love the vividness.

Victoria said...

This is so replete with nostalgia, an ode of sorts to days long past (days when you and I were still in High School.) I hate to see the demise o f those small farms, the loss of a way of life, really, when farmers knew their animals by name and carefully tended to their crops. I like how you listed what those kids went on to become that seems to symbolize the extreme diversity of our lifestyles today.

estella said...

I sing that song almost every night.

"Wild grass,
thistles and brambles grew over it, making it
disappear for years; as it became oxidation’s bitch."

You're making me want to become oxidation's bitch. :P

harada57 said...
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