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.