John Herm








The Ice Shoe

I happened upon an abandoned farm

And walked the land to feel its charm.

I wondered who had left this place

Whose prairie blooms a color’d embrace.

The house fallen down but sat by a creek

Up high enough so rains wouldn’t seep.

The yard was choked with weeds that swayed

Where once some children laughed and played.

I rebuilt the house with one of my own

‘N fixed the barns where stock once roamed

This wavy land with the rappling creek

So peaceful here… I needn’t speak.

‘N while I toiled ‘n kept a doin’

I kept my eye on a field stone ruin

With crumbled mortar but upright still

And squarely dug in the side of the hill.

I wasn’t sure what once took place

Within these walls that made this space.

But soon came the days to restore these walls

For they held but storied waste and all.

And while I rummaged  ‘n looked for clues

Well…right there it was… a horse’s shoe!

The shoe was weathered with worn down cleats

That once gave purchase on icy sheets

To pull his ice-block laden sled

From the frozen lake to this ice-house shed.

And I think how hard it must have been

When things were done by horse back then.

They sawed and cut the ice in blocks

To cool and save their cherished crops.

I love to picture that tall strong horse

Who wore this shoe and stayed his course

To where I stand in this quilt of stone

By the singing creek that no one owns.

John Herm Poet Laureate, Dunn, WI

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