Monday, July 25, 2011

Another Fence Post . . .

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Building a fence is hard work
Digging post holes for planting posts
Hammering in the posts
Nailing up rails stringing wire hanging slats
Bracing where needed
Hard hand-blistering callous forming thirsty work
Beer is the best beverage for slaking such thirsts
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Once done the reverse process begins soon after
Sun wind rain snow frost all conspire to unwire
To unravel to deconstruct to disconnect to devastate
Decades later the fence has no further defense against such onslaught
Wine is the drink required for watching things unwind
One small sip at a time, savouring the fine flavors of aging oak
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What say we gather round
Break off slats here and there to pile them on the ground
A big bonfire build where late into the night
We can dance to the beat of sheepskin drums
Dance and chant and drum and drink and feast
And roll in the firelit shadows
Under a full moon of course
Under a full moon howling our delight . . .
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21 comments:

Lydia said...

Owen! What a fantastic poem to go with these evocative images. They give me the hugest urge to BE THERE. I love it and hate it when photos do that do me, because I have truly felt them deeply but am prohibited from going deeper....

Steve said...

Always begs the question: do fences divide the land or define it? I think it depends on the fence...

mythopolis said...

I like this writing. It is a thing I think about a lot, the history behind the presence of anything. The people who toiled to build a fence or a habitat so long ago. I think this sometimes about the house I live in. Who was here before? Who walked from room to room the way I do now? Is this my house at all? I suppose it will still be around long after I am gone,and perhaps someone else will call it 'theirs'. and they will wonder things like, 'I wonder why he painted this room such a strange color?' etc. Thanks for the reflection.

...louciao... said...

Will there be bands? The Ghost of the Dead, perhaps?

Elizabeth Anderson said...

I can't help but wonder how the person twisted the barbwire around each slat along the long and lonely fence line. Is it to keep animals in or keep them out?

I'm painting again Owen while I wait for the surgeon. I'm starting to visualize how to approach the abandoned house of yours. Thanks again for your generosity. I'm a bit nervous about disappointing you. :)

Owen said...

Hi Lydia,
Nest steps :
- See your travel agent for ticket from Portland or Seattle to Paris CDG Airport (or purchase on line)
- From CDG Airport take TGV train to Nimes in south of France (4 hours max)
- In Nimes rent car and drive from Nimes through Alès to Florac (est. 2 hour drive)
- In Florac purchase detailed IGN map of area
- From Florac take small steep road that climbs 1500 feet to the Causse Méjean
- You are THERE, begin exploring...

Estimated time for total travel : 48 hours

Afterwards, up to you, but be careful, you may become hooked for life there...

Owen said...

Steve, I'm not sure which; I asked the fence for further explanation, but it wasn't talking...

Owen said...

Hey Dan, very important to ask such questions. There were people living on the high plain where this fence was, leaving traces of their presence, before history began in France. I kept finding myself wondering who they were and how they survived there in that relatively harsh environment... Even the more recent builders of this fence, I'd love to know who they were, and if any are still living today.

Owen said...

Lynne, there will be bands, bands of bands, most certainly, and like in Mexico on the Day of the Dead, skeletons will be out shaking their bones... A few shamans will appear also, curing all evils...
:-)
Gosh, I'm thirsty just thinking of it !

Owen said...

Hi Elizabeth, it must have been painstaking work, unless maybe the slats came in pre-wired rolls from a factory somewhere, ready to un-roll along the rails and nail into place... I'm wondering now too.

As for painting : no worries, no expectations, no stress... I'm just thrilled that you wanted to try, whatever happens is ok by me... ok ?

Owen said...

Errr, Lydia, that's "Next steps"...
:-)

Bienvenue chez French Girl in Seattle... said...

Dear Owen,
I have not known you for long, but congrats to you. On top of being a photographer extraordinaire, you also write beautiful poems?! Je suis très impressionnée. I said in an earlier post that I would love to explore that region of France but now that I have read the travel itinerary you wrote for Lydia. I am not so sure. I fear it might just kill me ;-) Veronique aka French Girl in Seattle

Céline said...

Cher Owen,
I didn't comment your previous post... because it has left me speechless... How long did you stay there, enjoying these gorgeous fences? How many glasses of wine did you drink while watching the beautiful disaster of time, wind and rain?
Je pense que ces barrières irait bien avec les planches du vieux chalet que j'ai photographié en février dernier.
Merci, cher Owen :-))

Owen said...

Hi Veronique, mille fois merci... very kind message there... I'm sure after all the travelling you did this summer you wouldn't have any trouble doing a little trip to Florac from Seattle... maybe you could even hook up with Lydia, and go together, that way you'd cut the car rental costs in half, and could share a room in Florac, further reducing the budget needed... Or you could put it off to another trip to France, and just make a little detour... you weren't too far away when in the Lot / Dordogne area... Anyway, hope you'll make it there someday, Florac is well worth the effort to get there. Many thanks again...

Owen said...

Bonsoir Céline,
En fait, si tu as vu les tonneaux dans un des billets juste avant celui-ci, bah, en fait on a monté un tonneau entier pour le siroter lentement là haut devant cette clôture, pendant que le soleil se couchait et la pleine lune se levait... quoi faire d'autre dans un endroit si délicieusement magnifique ? Bon, et oui, je suis resté très longtemps autour de cet endroit, mais on a fini par partir, car on avait un fromage à livrer chez une vieille dame du causse qui nous avait gentiment parlé la veille longuement de sa vie caussarde, nous racontant des histoires impressionnantes, du coup on est allé chercher un bon fromage à Hyelzas où il y a une cooperative de fromagerie et autres produits du coin, miel, saucisse du causse, gésiers, confits.... mmmmm, tout ce que j'aime, et tout ce qui va parfaitement avec le contenu du tonneau... voilà, maintenant tu sais tout, ou presque... :-)
Merci Céline...

PS si tu aimes ce coin assez pour vouloir installer un bureau par là, connais-tu le sirop des fleurs du sureau ? Cela fait un excellent kir... myam !

nathalie in Avignon said...

Ce deuxième billet était indispensable car ce poème-là méritait absolument d'être publié. Il est d'une grande force, d'un grand pouvoir d'évocation et s'accorde parfaitement avec tes photos.

Merci pour ce beau moment de poésie.

(et ça me donne envie d'aller trainer mes guêtres sur les causses, région que je ne connais pas du tout)

Owen said...

Hi Nathalie ! Merci bcp... les Causses, surtout en ce que je connais de près, le Causse Méjean, et un petit peut le Causse de Sauveterre, valent largement le détour... Oui, prépare tes guêtres et chaussures de marche ! Si jamais tu voudrais quelques petits tuyaux pour de bonnes balades sur le Causse Méjean, n'hésites pas...
Amitiés...

Stickup Artist said...

These are the kind of places that have secrets, that talk to you in whispers on the wind and the scents in the air. I'm glad you are listening so you can bring forth these words and images. This post really tugs at my soul...

Owen said...

Everywhere I looked around those parts, I was sniffing the air, and standing very still to listen... very still indeed...

Robert Heinlein named the verb for this some time ago, if I recall, in Stranger in a Strange Land :

to grok...

ρομπερτ said...

Pictures that could be heard - impressive, impressive !

Owen said...

Robert, many thanks, I think that if one could be there when the wind was blowing, this fence would make a very wide range of musical noises, it would be fun to go back and try to record the song of the fence...