Photo & Poem: Not Allowed

Animals were not allowed in our farm house,
three rooms and an attic. Dark mornings
with frost on the inside of the windows, thin
glass against the Minnesota winter, the icy

linoleum floors nipped at my bed-warm feet
as I ran down the stairs in flannel pajamas to
dress in front of the oil furnace. Chores before
school, bundled for the hundred-yard trek, push

hard to slide the barn door just wide enough to
be greeted by a screaming mob of thin, half-wild
cats clamoring for milk; the wagging collie dog
muttered a hushed bark for his table scraps. Grain

for the mare, the hens were still nesting while
steam rose off dairy cows chewing silage to the
milking-machine rhythm. The air was rich with
moist snorts and the earthy scent of warm manure.

Winters passed, now the dogs sleep on the couch
as I dress for chores and watch you drive away to
holidays with family, their house with ice inside the
windows and the door shut to those who are other.

…

Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
Horse Advocate, Author, Clinician, Equine ProBlog/FB/Email/Author/FB/Tweet/Amazon

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35 thoughts on “Photo & Poem: Not Allowed”

  1. Very descriptive of life as it was – far different ways of “dealing” with animals – and people! I’m sure many young people have no idea that way of living was not so long ago. I’ve known some who lived that very existence and while I was fortunate enough not to – it cant have been easy.

  2. Very moving. Look back to Ireland, where the not-so-ancient peasants took their livestock inside with them to share the tiny earthen floored living spaces, themselves living as the animals whose breath and body heat and hot dung warmed the crofts. The pendulum swings, perhaps swung too far, and now rests in balance.

  3. Took me straight back to my childhood in the far north of Scotland where the winters were rugged too. Ice inside the windows; bluetits pecking at the frozen cream on stalks of milk bottles. Luckily for me our dog was allowed to sleep indoors, though not on the couch. I couldn’t have borne it otherwise. Still today on farms here in France, there are plenty pups who don’t have good lodging and even here in the south it can be very cold. Changing people’s minds seems to take so long.

  4. I understand in a new way lately that house of “family” with frost on the inside. Enjoy the warmth of your own space made lovely by the open-hearted affections of your chosen kin. Darkness can also be a place of nurturing and growth. Like a womb. Sending light and love to you, Anna.

    • Thank you, Kaylene. I’ve thought of you often since the earthquake, and I know you are a strong bunch… best wishes you way as well. (I’ll look to the high side of dark, on the advice of someone who lives in the great north.)

  5. Oh, this makes my heart ache. Rather the warm welcoming warmth of the barn’s earthy smells and sounds than icy windows and shut doors.

  6. Lovely. Memories of sneaking out to the front porch and curling up with the shepherds…warmer than the bedrooms, or so it seemed…on that farm soo long ago. Remembering as my dogs are curled on my sofa while I write. Thank you.

  7. Love it!! πŸ’•

    On Mon, Dec 10, 2018 at 9:33 AM Relaxed & Forward: AnnaBlakeBlog wrote:

    > Anna Blake posted: ” Animals were not allowed in our farm house, three > rooms and an attic. Dark mornings with frost on the inside of the windows, > thin glass against the Minnesota winter, the icy linoleum floors nipped at > my bed-warm feet as I ran down the stairs in flanne” >

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