Stone Benches, 1940
From a surplus of rock and mortar
and simple tools in hopeful hands,
curious displays of hard built things
still decorate our parks and towns.
Sad souls were called, grateful, humble,
to public works of limestone and cement
and pavilions right for picnic days
or stages bound by grassy hills
or traffic circles, round and round
and schools of cobblestone and sand
whose walls were better than their roofs
or parkways arching river flows.
The quaintest relics of these trades
are rock built benches, uninviting,
facing now gigantic trees
or other views long since obscured.
What respite could be long enjoyed
by leaning into fieldstone slabs,
the back rests of such cold dimensions,
more of apprenticeship than craft?
These pockmarked sentinels stand unused,
though permanent and long enduring
amid plateaus and groves and water courses,
their very making having been their need.
For hands not quite the ablest
and voices not that strong
there comes the perfect moment,
a time for simple song.
While fretting in the shadows,
the ones who don’t belong
may dress for the occasion
to play their simple song.
With failures unattended
and hopeful plans gone wrong
success is that much sweeter
for those of simple song.