In selecting a short sample of my book Harbored Secrets, I mulled it over and over. I finally decided to share my character Didier Platt’s poem. He is striving to build a life for himself and his family by homesteading in the north eastern Montana prairies. My character is driven by loss and hardness. He writes this in his loneliness after the death of his wife and son.
The pictures are of the old Montana homestead along the Milk River my grandpa Yeats had. He used to write poetry that was published in the Havre newspaper. The pictures were taken on his place.
The man that was me wrote the unbidden,
The rhythm wouldn’t, couldn’t stay hidden.
Words flowed from exhaustion buried in he,
Earned by him doing what never should be.
His daughters sent away on rails of iron,
As he watched, hidden behind the grain tower,
Choking back bile in a throat way tight,
‘til the last of the train was lost to sight.
Unending grief, and he cursed at his trials
as his wagon rolled the childless miles,
moved by a team simply given their head
by a man with a spirit totally dead.
Finally, his fields, the ones of his own,
appeared in the dusk looking darker of tone.
Hues of caramel touched his over ripe grain.
He needed to harvest ‘ere the next rain.
But now he had time, he would hurry no more.
He’d gather the crop to calm his heart sore.
A house he’d rebuild, and find a new wife,
to sire sons and put an end to the strife.
He guided the team past his house all burned,
And away from the charred chimney he turned.
But magnet of sorrow it drew him once more,
And forced him to write of a lad and a war.
Mortar shells blew holes in houses of stone.
He ran and he ran, terrified and alone.
He fell near rubble, the church o’ his youth?
He saw the lone cross, a symbol of truth.
Oh God let this be your heavenly sign,
spare my family, they’re all that is mine.
Finally he reached the house he called home.
Part of the roof blown down on the loam.
Inside his mother and sister lay entwine
hugging in death as if they were fine.
The pool of blood that ran below them
was darker, far darker than ink from his pen.
Parts of his father scattered the ground.
The lad that was still wanders around
inside the heart of the man, that was me.
Harbored Secrets will be free on Kindle downloads on April 1 2020.
PS a note from the author in today’s Covid 19 world: Here is an email I wrote to my buddies after I got home today from the grocery store.
Needed groceries. Left off my hearing aides and glasses so I’d have enough room behind my ears for my cute little homemade mask and for my cute little 1920s style Cloche hat. I wore a slick coat. Felt pure criminal. I put on my plastic gloves, entered the grocery store and selected all kinds of stuff. The deeper into the store I got, the hotter that hat and coat were and I couldn’t breath through the damned cute mask. I finally got to the check out line and the pesky card reading machine kept asking me to reenter my code numbers for my debit card. Then it shut my card off. ??? The young clerk, terrified to raise her voice above a whisper, kept repeating redo and I kept saying huh? Had to be the gloves. I don’t carry another credit card, its safe in my drawer at home. I also never write checks so my check book was safe in my desk. Well f-blank oh dear. Yep, I had to go home and get my check blanks and went back to the gracious store and paid for my groceries that will certainly not taste as good as they should.
Beautiful writing. Heart wrenching poetry.
A Covid experience to write about.