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Paint Creek Site

By John I. Blair

Somewhere around my house
Thereís an old cigar box
Half full of broken pottery
And bits of arrowheads.

Not much to look at,
But the points were nicely knapped,
The blackened, crumbling pots
Were fluted on the rims.

When I was just beyond my boyhood,
Young in years and wisdom,
A friend and I went walking
Across a fallow field in Kansas.

His knowing eyes sought traces
Where lodges once had stood,
A village by a creek . . .
Paint Creek, he called it.

Men, women, children made this home
Two hundred years before;
With fish from the creek,
Corn and squash from little fields,

With endless game from the prairies,
They had prospered:
Babies cried, people loved,
Laughed, wept, died.

Now, nothing but the posthole marks,
Mussel shell middens, broken points and pots
Ploughed up each planting season
And washed clean by the rains.

And even less for me: fading memories
Of a sunny day in Kansas,
A stroll with a friend,
A dusty cigar box I canít even find.

©2003 John I. Blair  

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Reader Comments

Name: Greg H (Yopo) Email: Unlisted
Comment: Very nice! I like the parallel story-lines of time swallowing up a long-past era and the past of the narrator. Good images, that linger after the words are gone. I cannot quite pin down the subtle emotion that you've conjure up, which makes the poem all the more interesting.

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