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Barn Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Old Barn by Madison Cawein
  2. The Old Barn by Anonymous
  3. The Stack Behind the Barn by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
  4. The Old Home Barn by Edward Henry Elwell
  5. Ben Burlap's Barn by Sam Walter Foss
  6. Grandfather's Barn by R. J. Burdette
  7. Father's Old Log Barn by John Mortimer

  1. The Old Barn

    by Madison Cawein

    Low, swallow-swept and gray,
    Between the orchard and the spring,
    All its wide windows overflowing hay,
    And crannied doors a-swing,
    The old barn stands to-day.

    Deep in its hay the Leghorn hides
    A round white nest; and, humming soft
    On roof and rafter, or its log-rude sides,
    Black in the sun-shot loft,
    The building hornet glides.

    Along its corn-crib, cautiously
    As thieving fingers, skulks the rat;
    Or in warped stalls of fragrant timothy,
    Gnaws at some loosened slat,
    Or passes shadowy.

    A dream of drouth made audible
    Before its door, hot, smooth, and shrill
    All day the locust sings… What other spell
    Shall hold it, lazier still
    Than the long day's, now tell:—

    Dusk and the cricket and the strain
    Of tree-toad and of frog; and stars
    That burn above the rich west's ribbéd stain;
    And dropping pasture bars,
    And cow-bells up the lane.

    Night and the moon and katydid,
    And leaf-lisp of the wind-touched boughs;
    And mazy shadows that the fireflies thrid;
    And sweet breath of the cows,
    And the lone owl here hid.

  2. The Old Barn

    by Anonymous

    Rickety, old and crazy,
    Shingleless, lacking some doors;
    Bad in the upper story,
    Wanting boards in the floors;
    Beams strung thick with cobwebs,
    Ridge-pole yellow and gray,
    Hanging in helpless innocence
    Over the mows of hay.

    How the winds turned around it—
    Winds of a stormy day—
    Scattering the fragrant hay seed,
    Whisking the straws away;
    Streaming in at the crannies,
    Spreading the clover smell,
    Changing the dark old granary
    Into a flowery dell.

    Oh, how I loved the shadows,
    That clung to the silent roof,
    Day-dreams wove with the quiet,
    Many a glittering woof;
    I climbed to the highest rafters,
    And watched the swallows at play,
    Admired the knots in the boarding,
    And rolled in the billows of hay.

    Palace of king couldn't match it;
    The Vatican loses its charm,
    When placed in my memory's balance,
    Beside the old gray barn!
    And I'd rather scent the clover,
    Piled in the barn's roomy mows,
    Than sit in the breath of the highlands
    Poured from Apennine prows!

  3. The Stack Behind the Barn

    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    September is here, with the ripened seeds,
    And the homely smell of the autumn weeds,
    My heart goes back to a vanished day,
    And I am again a boy at play
    In the stack behind the barn.

    Dear memory of the old home-farm,—
    The hedge-rows fencing the crops from harm,
    The cows, too heavy with milk for haste,
    The barn-yard, yellow with harvest waste,
    And the stack behind the barn.

    Dear, dear, dear the old garden-smell,
    Sweet William and phlox that I loved so well,
    And the seeding mint, and the sage turned grey,
    But dearer the smell of the tumbled hay
    In the stack behind the barn.

    In the side of the stack we made our nest,
    And there was the play-house we loved the best.
    A thicket of goldenrod, bending and bright,
    Filled us with glory and hid us from sight
    In the stack behind the barn.

    Then, when the stack, with the year, ran low,
    And our frosty, morning cheeks were aglow,
    When time had forgotten the dropping leaves,
    What joy to drop from the barn's wide eaves
    To the stack behind the barn!

    O childhood years! Your heedless feet
    Have slipped away with how much that's sweet!
    But dreams and memory master you,
    Till the make-believe of Life is through
    I still may play as the children do
    In the stack behind the barn.

  4. The Old Home Barn

    by Edward Henry Elwell

    On a Painting by Harry Brown

    Yes, 'tis the same! The old home barn!
    Scene of my boyhood plays;
    How many memories, sweet and sad,
    Rise up from those old days.

    Through the open door again I ride
    On hayrack heaped full high,
    And toss to the mow the fragrant store,
    Born of the summer sky.

    I leap from the beam, and, buried deep,
    Emerge with laugh and shout;
    Hunt in the hay the stolen nest,
    The hidden eggs seek out.

    Old Dobbin neighs from behind his crib,
    I hear the oxen's tread,
    The breath of the kine comes sweet to me—
    But where is the colt I fed?

    On the floor the hens are scratching still;
    The stout farm-wagon, too, is there;
    The carryall that carried all
    In state to the county fair.

    How rung the barn with merry glee
    When the husking-bee came round,
    And cheeks were aglow with blushes deep,
    When the bright red ears were found.

    Through the open door, across the road,
    A picture framed I see,
    The fields, the wood, the hills afar,
    That hid the world from me.

    What lay beyond I pondered deep,
    A realm most fair it seemed;
    And much I wished to tread its ways
    Of which I long had dreamed.

    I've wandered far; the world so wide,
    That still has lured me on,
    Ne'er gave to me a scene so fair
    As that I gaze upon.

    The old home barn, in boyhood's days,
    A pleasure palace reared;
    To-day it stands a temple filled
    With memories e'er endeared.

    O Artist of the magic wand
    Which thus recalls the past,
    Your work shall hang in memory's hall
    So long as life shall last.

  5. Ben Burlap's Barn

    by Sam Walter Foss

    Ben Burlap bragged about his barn with every man he see;
    He said it wuz the finest barn that any barn could be.
    Sez he, "The worl' is full er barns; but still I calkerlate
    There ain't no barn like Burlap's barn, an' hain't been up to date."
    An' w'en yer saw a wild-eyed man who raised consid'ble rumpus,
    An' waved an' flapped his arms aroun' to all p'ints of the compass,
    An' swished his whisker in the wind, an' spun a half-day yarn,
    You'd know it wuz Ben Burlap, sure, expoundin' on his barn.
    An' I went down to see his barn; he hung on so like sin,
    One day I tol' my wife I guessed I'd go an' take it in.
    'Twuz jest ez good ez Jim hed said, ez fine ez it could be;
    It beat all barns I ever see, or ever 'spect to see.

    W'en I come out, sez I to Jim , "What's that small buildin' there,
    That kinder wobbly lookin' thing, that tumbledown affair?
    It looks so ricketty an' weak, 'tain't fit to hol' a mouse."
    "Oh, yes, "sez Jim, "it's fuller mice; that ar hut is my house."

  6. Grandfather's Barn

    by R. J. Burdette

    Oh, don't you remember our grandfather's barn,
    Where our cousins and we met to play:
    How we climbed on the beams and the scaffolds high,
    Or tumbled at will on the hay?
    How we sat in a row on the bundles of straw,
    And riddles and witch stories told,
    While the sunshine came in through the cracks of the south,
    And turned all the dust into gold?

    How we played hide-and-seek in each cranny and nook,
    Wherever a child could be stowed;
    Then we made us a coach of a hogshead of rye,
    And on it to "Boston" we rode?
    And then we kept store, and sold barley and oats,
    And corn by the bushel or bin;
    And straw for our sisters to braid into hats,
    And flax, for our mothers to spin.

    Then we played we were biddies, and cackled and crowed,
    Till grandmother in haste came to see
    If the weasles were killing the old speckled hen,
    Or whatever the matter might be;
    How she patted our heads when she saw her mistake,
    And called us her sweet "chicken-dears!"
    While a tear dimmed her eye as the picture recalled
    The scenes of her own vanished years.

    How we tittered and swung, and played meeting and school,
    And Indian, and soldier, and bear!
    While up on the rafter the swallows kept house,
    Or sailed through the soft summer air.
    How we longed to peep into their curious nests!
    But they were too far overhead;
    So we wished we were giants, or winged like the birds,
    And then we'd do wonders, we said.

    And don't you remember the racket we made
    When selling at auction the hay;
    And how we wound up with a keelover leap
    From the scaffold down into the bay?
    When we went in to supper, our grandfather said,
    If he had not once been a boy,
    He should thought that the Hessians were sacking the town,
    Or an earthquake had come to destroy.

  7. Father's Old Log Barn

    by John Mortimer

    Dear relic of the silent past,
    Old barn, my father’s pride,
    When such as thou graced hill and dale
    O’er all the woodland wide.

    Fondly on thy last remnant still
    My partial eyes are bent
    Though to the highway passer by
    It is no ornament.

    For half a hundred years and more
    How bravely didst thou stand
    Until it seemed that time alone
    Could blot thee from the land.

    No flying brand from forest fire
    Nor lightning’s kindling stroke
    Bade thy strong rafters and stout walls
    Go up in flame and smoke.

    No sudden storm whose rending power
    Wrecked many modern kin—
    One breathless day at noontide hour
    We heard thy roof crash in.

    The roof that in the early days
    Sheltered my father's grain
    When through the doors the long-horned steeds
    Drew in the loaded wain,

    And oft, well shielded from the cold
    In homespun coat of mail,
    I sat within thy wondrous walls
    And watched the sounding flail.

    The old horsepower machine shall hum
    And shake thy roof no more
    Nor boys crawl out with egg-filled hat
    From 'neath thy stout plank floor,

    That floor is gone and thy old walls
    Are disappearing fast
    And soon thou shalt exist alone
    In visions of the past.

    But ne'er while I can think a thought
    Or spin the bairns a yarn
    Shall I forget long vanished days
    And father's old log barn.

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