Vanishing Prairie

Courtesy of Pinterest.

Vanishing prairie hangs on

Isolated town foregone

 

Time long ago, grand premiere

History fading each year

 

Showing up on highway map

Road’s wide spot, taking a nap

 

Middle of farming country

Seldom find even one tree

 

Boarded-up wood-frame schoolhouse

Empty, forgotten courthouse

 

No longer town’s pride and joy

Critters, varmints now employ

 

Railroad track hides in tall grass

Recalling past trains, first-class

 

Grain elevator hanging on

Memories live, town’s swan song

 

Single street light standing guard

Night’s shadows, lasting vanguard

 

Yesteryear’s grandest of homes

Mystery for Sherlock Holmes

 

Faded sign for Ruth’s Café

Long absent dinner entrees

 

Movie theater shuttered

Smelling fresh popcorn, buttered

 

Few remember town’s past times

Hearing nature’s windy chimes

 

Past glory days, now long gone

Dim sunset, well past its dawn

  

Courtesy of Pinterest.

During my teaching career, I taught 25 years in the eastern prairie country of Montana.  Today, many small farming communities struggle for survival while others such as the one in this poem live on only as memories.

Standing Alone

 

Montana 2016 B&W.jpg

Disheveled in appearance, this mansion has long stood

Waiting silently in a long forgotten town’s neighborhood

The spreading sagebrush peeks out and feels alone

Lacking any proper care, the yard appears overgrown

 

Years ago, sophistication resides here with its appeal

Bringing people to dinner parties, glamorous and real

The walls still remember, offering all guests a seat

Listening to stories of wonder that continue to speak

 

The family appreciates their glittering life of pleasure

Living with opulence from a wealth of gifted treasure

Then the Great Depression delivers hard, uncertain times

Drying up bank accounts, from thousands to a few dimes

 

A life of splendor and privilege, now forever gone

Sending lives into financial ruin, no longer strong

A great town collapses into isolation and despair

Causing the grand home to fade without repairs

 

The once-proud family packs up and departs

Moving on to an uncertain future, falling apart

Now the mansion of grandeur stands alone and tattered

Allowing Father Time to leave her final years battered

 

The town remains deserted, quiet, and dark

Surviving as a ghost town without any spark

Sometimes the wind blows, bringing past voices to hear

Remembering better times without any shattered tears

 

The photograph is of an abandoned mansion found in Nevada City, Montana.  This townsite is located a short drive outside of Virginia City in Madison County of the Big Sky state.  Both of these communities are worth a visit when you travel to southwestern Montana.  In 1863, Montana’s second major gold strike centered along Alder Gulch, which runs through the area.  For additional information about this gold strike, visit Alder Gulch.