In September 2000, I had the privilege of traveling to and around Eastern Europe. Travel between neighboring countries is predominantly by train. Looking out the window of our train as we neared the capitol of the Czech Republic, I saw a beautiful but derelict greenhouse. Struck by the parallel between abandoned people and abandoned buildings, I penned this poem.
Arriving Prague, September
I see a greenhouse through the tinted window of the train,
Fallen to ruin and more’s the pity.
Once tomatoes ripened, fat and red, on the vine.
Once cucumbers swelled, wet and waxy and green.
Once paprika flushed white-green among deeper green leaves.
Once onions flowered above, while bulbing hot and white below.
Now the dry ground is lifeless beneath broken panes.
Even bird and bug have abandoned this place,
Once a sacred harbor of growth and life.
And so it is with men.
We demand so much of them,
Fight our wars, head our households,
Hold jobs, raise money, and children, more importantly.
And for what?
To be abandoned in their age by an ungrateful world
Which can no longer see any use in them.
Photo credit: Flickr