Memphis, Tennessee


The old man stood on soil he'd known.
He'd come to fill a vow
And see once more the hallowed land,
The land he used to plow.

The farm had been abandoned.
I watched his thoughts unfold,
In eyes that dampened in the wind
Of late-December cold.

His old home, although standing,
Was sagging with decay,
Surrounded by intrusive growth
Where children used to play...

Children that grew up too fast,
Their laughter, too soon gone,
Have children, and their children
Have children of their own.

Fifty years. He shook his head
In solemn disbelief.
I sensed what he was thinking:
Time is such a thief.

He slowly turned to look once more.
Snow was falling now
And spread a shroud upon the land,
The land he used to plow.

Claude Blackwood Memphis, TN

Tennessee Senior Poet Laureate 2005

Claude Blackwood, 72, winner of the 2005 National Senior Poet Laureate and Tennessee Senior Poet Laureate titles, is a retired farmer who specializes in writing imaginative, humorous poetry, although his winning poem in the 2005 SPL competition was a serious, traditional reflection on time's swift passage entitled "The Thief." Claude Blackwood was 2004 Tennessee Senior Poet Laureate and 2004 Pissonneteer of the Year. When not writing poetry He is a beekeeper and gardener.