The Romance of Old Barns
Under the discount store, the fast food place, the furniture outlet, under this asphalt,
Is one of the best chunks of black bottom farm land in southeast Kansas.
My grandad grew corn, wheat, oats and alfalfa,
Rotating the crops by his almanac and the taste of the dirt.
And there, under that corner, my grandma's garden grew.
The house was somewhere near the bicycle rack,
And the old barn was where they have that bank of video games.
Under all this asphalt and concrete, plastic and steel,
I learned to cut a calf, learned to drive a team of horses,
Learned to work in this earth; and in that barn...
Oh!  In that old red barn.  I close my eyes and I'm there.
On mornings when frost covered the fields,
I butted my way under that old Jersey cow and
I squirted the hot steaming milk into the cold tin bucket; and
I heard the hogs snorting around for the slops we saved for them.
I open my eyes and almost get run over by a housewife with a buggy
Full of disposable diapers and sugar-coated cereal.
The security guard takes my arm, asks if I'm all right
And what I'm doing there if I'm not going to buy anything.
I'm visiting my grandad's farm, I say; under all this asphalt
Is the sweetest little farm in southeast Kansas.
Walking away into the shimmering heat rising from the parking lot,
I swear I hear Grandma calling us for supper.
There'll be beans and cornbread and iced tea;
Tomorrow we'll start plowing the lower forty.
Then we'll come home and sit on the front porch,
Watching the dogs playing in the yard,
Dreaming of going to town next week to sell some hay
And get a store-bought hat to wear to the dance at the Grange Hall.
Right now, looking back at the parking lot,
It's full of people and cars and activity...
But all I can see is what we've lost.

-- K. Robertson
The house had gone to bring again to the midnight sky a sunset glow.
Now the chimney was all of the house that stood, like a pistil after the petals go.
The barn opposed across the way, that would have joined the house in flame
Had it been the will of the wind, was left to bear forsaken the place's name.
No more it opened with all one end for teams that came by the stony road
To drum on the floor with scurrying hoofs and brush the mow with the summer load.
The birds that came to it through the air at broken windows flew out and in,
Their murmur more like the sigh we sigh from too much dwelling on what has been.
Yet for them the lilac renewed its leaf, and the aged elm, though touched with fire;
And the dry pump flung up an awkward arm; and the fence post carried a strand of wire.
For them, there was really nothing sad, but though they rejoiced in the nest they kept,
One had to be versed in country things not to believe the phoebes wept.

-- Robert Frost
Just down the road, around the bend, stands an old empty barn, nearing its end.
It's sheltered no animals for many a year, no dairy cow, no horse, no sheep, no steer.
The sigh of a man, the low of a cow, those sounds have been absent for some time now.
There was a time when the loft was filled with hay and there were echoes of laughing children at play.
At one time the paint was a bold shade of red, but now the boards are gray instead.
Sad, empty barns have become a trend...just down the road and around the bend.

-- Vance Oliphant
Barns back east have weather vanes on them to show which way the wind is
blowing.  But, out here in the west, there's no need, farmers just look out the
window to see which way the barn is leaning.  
-- Charles Kuralt