I came across this poem in a book I am reading and because it spoke to my heart, I decided I must share it!
An old grange hall stands bereft
In a field of waving wheat;
The people all have long since left,
Where once with flying feet
They danced the fiddle’s lively reels,
And do-si-doed in squares;
But television and automobiles
Have ended such affairs.
The neighbors all came from their farms
From tiny newborn babes in arms
To the deaf & doddery.
And they knew each other well, with all
Their virtues, strengths and faults;
They’d get together in the hall
For the foxtrot and the waltz;
To share their pies and socialize,
Talk of kids and kitchens—
Of critters, crops, and days gone by;
Mark births and deaths and hitchin’s.
For we were all one family then,
Though perhaps not blood related—
Yes, I remember way back when
We all cooperated.
We helped each other in a pinch
Or sometimes just for fun;
If you needed help it was a cinch
Your project would get done.
Though times back then were somewhat lean,
Entertainment—it was free;
When folks would in that hall convene
And friends and neighbors see.
And that old grange hall speaks to me
Of things gone quite askew
In our present-day society
With its hype and ballyhoo
For folks now travel fast and far,
Meet schedules with precision;
And when they’re not out in the car
They’re watching television.
The art of actual conversation
Is rather antiquated—
We’ve lots of information,
But can’t communicate it.
Oh, sure, we can download it
And shift it place to place;
But there’s few who can decode it
Into words of style and grace.
So I miss the meeting hall of old,
And I wish you could have known
How it was to cross the threshold
Of that place, now overgrown,
And dance all night with the neighbor gal
That you’d known since you were small;
Or meet your fated femme fatale,
And in love forever fall.
Now that old building stands forlorn
Yet still foursquare and sound;
Though by the wind and weather worn
It could someday rebound,
For it hasn’t yet been set aflame
Nor from its footings torn,
And it may yet achieve acclaim
From dancers yet unborn.
So keep the roof in good repair
And doors & windows sealed;
For past and future meet right there
In that grange hall in the field.
© Dick Warwick
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author’s permission.