A Collection of Poetry and writings from the Farm

"Old Days on the Farm"
Richard Tostenson
Verily there are things which no man can take from you,
And among these are recollections and small remembrances,
In your reflective years you will be either blissful or forlorn.
According as your recollections are pleasant or otherwise.
So seek among the field and fauna, hours of peace, beauty, and joy.
To make pleasant your golden hours of life's last autumn.

"The Land Remembers"
Richard Tostenson
I cannot leave the land. How can I, when a thousand sounds,
Sights and smells tell me I am a part of it.
Let me hear the murmur of talk in the dusk, of a summer night,
And I am sitting under the gigantic silver maple in the front garden,
Hearing the voices of those I have loved.
Mother listens to the mourning dove with that look their evening coo always brings.
Father has just come from the oat field cross the dusty road.
He sits on the old wooden steps of the front porch, with a half dozen stems in his hand,
Running his fingers along the heads of grain, asking if tomorrow is the day harvest should begin.
Oh how could I leave the Land?

"The House that Elling Built"
Richard Tostenson
It stands on the prairie so strong and tall,
With its intricate turning carving and all,
Its colors are hues of the prairie itself.
Sumac red and thistle green, harvest wheat and terracotta make it complete.
But you see it's more then a structure of wood.
It's a house full of laughter, sunshine and play.
Where everyone's happy day upon day.
It saw Elling and Henry and young William too.
Its history goes on with generations to be perused,
And if you’re real quiet you're likely to hear the laughter of children five generations renewed.
So with boulders and rock, and boards made of wood.
The house became home, as Elling knew it would.

"Auntie Georgia's Garden"
Richard Tostenson
A tiger lily long ago, grew by my childhood home.
And through the misty past, I see its spots of brilliant orange and green,
planted O so long ago.
I see it still in bloom woven forever on my memory's loom.

"The Cellar"
Richard Tostenson
At first you feel the coolness of the porcelain knob.
Then the ancient creek of the old cellar door.
Duck to avoid the low wooden beam,
as you descend the wooden stairs of the cellar.
Wispy cobwebs move languidly above my head,
As two dim glass bulbs struggle to penetrate the darkness of the room,
The stale air pinches your nose, like lifting the lid of an old suitcase
Filled with memories of another time since long passed.
There catching glints of dust filtered light,
Like diamonds in the rough stands on the stoic shelves of generations past.
Jars, pints, quarts, and even gallons filled with a season's harvest.
Some you know would say "That cellar smells like mold and dust."
But to me, it smells of memories precious sweet, memories of a long lost summer past.

"At the End of the Day"
Richard Tostenson
I like to live at the end of our lane, called hackberry hollow.
It is sweet beyond compare,
When at eventide the mourning doves with their calming songs fill the air.
It may be then that childhood's happy day, comes back with its sweetest charm.
Or it may be that peace from heaven above comes settles for a moment in the orchards soft light,
then is gone in flight.
But it leaves a thought at the end of the day, with a wish that is kind and true,
To even walk onward with steps that are light, as in childhood that once we knew.
With a song in our hearts and a peace that will stay,
And our faith once more renewed.
Yes, that's what you will find, when you walk down the lane.
When it's lit with the summer's moon.

"The Raspberry Bramble"
Richard Tostenson
Across our orchard you can see, stretching out in the summer breeze…
Canes of emerald green, they guard like sentinels of the past,
The granary in its grandest mass.
But when you look deep inside, those leaves so green and deep,
You'll find the treasures that they keep of ruby red berries, called summer's sweet.
So in the warm sun, kissed with cool drops of dew.
Summer's memories are made for me and you.

"The Kitchen Rocker"
Richard Tostenson
Rock me to sleep in the old cane back rocking chair.
And make me a child again.
Sing me an old time lullaby one with sweet refrain.
Lay me down on my pillow; the angels will keep me from harm.
Rock me to sleep in the old rocking chair, safe in my mother's arms once more.

"The Barn Swallows"
Richard Tostenson
They come in silence every year, like an earthly clock with the fresh spring air.
All dressed in feathers of Safire blue, with a dash of red just below each head.
In the cathedral of our barn they'll bed, to raise their families so it's said.
And when you look way up high, where the cupola stands in the red summer sky.
You will see them soar, you will see them fly.
This time, it's time to say good-bye to summer's long enduring evening tide.

"Are all the Children In"
In memory of Anna E. Tostenson
I remember in bygone years of a terracotta house on the plains.
Of a big garden hedged in lilacs and bridal wreath.
Where we ran and played at will.
And when the night time brought us home, hushing our merry din,
Mother would look around and say "are all my children in?"
It's been many a year now and the old house on the plain, no longer has my mother's care.
The garden is still, but if you listen, you can hear it all no matter how long it's been.
I seem to hear my mother ask, "Are all my children in?"
And I wonder when the curtain falls, on that last earthly day,
When we say good-bye to all of this, to our pain, our work, and play.
When we step across the river, where Mother so long has been,
Will we hear her ask the final time, "Are all my children in?"

"The Kitchen"
Authorship Unknown
My kitchen's not too modern, I guess it has the lived in look,
And likely paint is flaking off inside my pantry nook.
But welcome holds out both her hands, in hopes of being shook.
So come you in, and sit you down, and sample what I cook.

"The Butterfly Dance"
Richard Tostenson
It's August and warm summer breezes begin to gust.
The fields are in bloom with wild flowers, a burst.
There's phlox and black-eyed Susan and wild mustard too, purple vetch, and thistle patch,
All swaying in time under Mother Nature's watch.
Suddenly like tiny ballerinas each, the butterflies in glorious colors beseech.
The bright yellow and black swallow tail, and the perfect little tiger tail, each finds its dancing mate.
And the vibrant orange and black Monarch who have come to play.
All around this Kingly Court is the bounce and flutter of the tiniest pale yellow buttercup.
Who land in one large clutter.
So with each passing August breeze they rise on wing and dance, the beautiful Butterfly Dance.

"The Fireside"
Richard Tostenson
On cool early autumn days, when summer blows her last soft breeze,
You can hear her leave with a rustle through the small green leaves of the humble apple tree.
Macintosh, Granny Smith, Haroldsons and Cavendish,
All await the harvest hand, but none grander then the Fireside stand.
The smell of sweet autumn apples weave a spell of childhoods past.
But nothing fills my memories like the brilliant red and flash of green,
Like the old Fireside apple tree.

"Great Grandfather's Barn"
Richard Tostenson
It stands in perfect majesty, with its hand hewed wooden beams
From pristine forests of oak and pine,
That echoes of centuries gone by.
A cathedral for creatures both great and small,
Where brown green fragrant hay fills the mows beyond the time warped eves,
Up to the rafters where the barn spider weaves her languid webs for all to see.
And as you look to the walls on high,
There's a chink in the knot of the ancient pine,
Where one lonely golden ray of sun in the hay dust is dancing unrestrained.
It's a place where a century ago, the land was tamed, and the state was named.
So it is here in its hallowed walls, that memories of our family can be recalled.

"The Circle of Toads"
Richard Tostenson
It all starts you see, with the cooling July evening breeze.
As the weather horse on the great red barn, spins from west to east.
With mane tossed high, then south, then north.
And back again.
When off in the distant fields, of faded green wheat.
Comes the the stillness and sound of the rolling, tumbling, rumble, from out of the east.
As if calling out from the glacier strewn, boulders and rocks.
A lumpy, bumpy, plump little creature. Who lifts his small head to look up yonder in the graying dark skies.
Then comes another much larger in size, and another and yet another, then comes a very small fellow indeed.
Who quiet quickly, joins the gathering throng.
Then together they huff and puff, until there twice their size.
And it begins, first with a very low Croak, then a Creek, then a Croak, Croak, Creek, Creek, Croak.
Suddenly with a flash and a boom in the yonder sky.
All of them jump and hop in a circle and sigh.
Then comes the pitter and patter, and the rhythm of the warm soft rain.
As they all join and sing in such sweet refrain, with the creek and the croak.
The song of the summer garden toad.

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Text and photographs copyright © Tostenson Brothers Farm 2004-2008. All rights reserved.