Story Poem, Nr.15 — The Wall and The River

Four generations, friendly, side by side    
our two families had farmed, with the old wall    
a place for meeting and shaking of hands    
discussing harvests, the weather, a stall    
for the Christmas Fayre; plus old friends who’d died.    
The altercation came one Fall when cows    
of mine, just twenty or so, were found    
eating his grass, having crossed a broken spot    
where crumbled stones collapsed in a small mound    
rolled down the slope to where the river flows.    
He banged hard on my door, smelling of drink    
shouting obscenities and with a curse    
I tractored out to deal with all the mess -    
and slowly, to avoid things getting worse,    
mended the wall alone, with time to think.    
What demons lie in a man’s gut and heart?    
Men’s ancient charge to provide and protect,    
build homes, women and children first, fight wars,    
duty, leaving shell-shocked men, young lives wrecked    
unless by chance they heal the damaged parts.    
After that our conversations grew thin;    
a minor matter fouled what once had been    
an easy-going friendship. And war’s pains?    
Manly seen as just another job, keen    
to “get over it” - a solution; gin.    
The boundary river with natural length    
oblivious to Man’s testy divides    
provides water for the both of us still;    
while the wall, one tenth as wide, might decide    
peace or war, with an unreasonable strength.    
Written by Josh (Joshua Bond)
Published | Edited 9th Mar 2024
Author's Note
Comp entry for Classic Corner Champion Male Division, hosted by Johnny Blaze.
Inspired by Robert Frost's poem "Mending Wall" for theme, stanza layout inspired from reading a variety of his work; no particular poem has this layout as far as I know.
Special Audio: (NaPo team will know)
Audio + Written:

(photo credit: joy-roxas-EoCEZzCqv1k-unsplash)
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