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At times I seek out solitude.
Those who know me understand
that spirit with which I'm imbued
oft seeks to roam through silent land.

Well, this was just such a day
mid-winter cold with hint of breeze.
So I got into my old red truck
and went to set my soul at ease.

I drove past many bustling towns;
past people crowded far too close
who walked the walks with worried frowns.
Yes, I drove past all of those.

My route then took me past tamed fields,
fertile, flat and void of rocks
where crops had given up their yields.
Where all the gates were wearing locks.

Past farm houses painted white,
past stout barns painted barn red,
past pastures basking in cold light
where all the livestock were well fed.

These were not the lands I sought
Far too tame to test my will.
Land too often sold and bought
too well maintained, each glade and rill.

Until I reached the forest land.
Lands we all and yet none own
where few if any houses stand.
Rugged land to walk alone.

Then asphalt segued into stones
and gravel soon turned into dirt
lending tires a different tone.
Red dust powdered the road's skirt.

At last I approached journey's end
where pines are tall and shadows deep.
Trees barely stirred by middling wind.
A place which winter put to sleep.

I parked and grabbed my cedar staff
for legs are old and terrain rough.
I smiled and let out a low laugh
which stiff old joints quickly turned gruff.

These trees were far too wide to hug.
Their shade forebade both brush and vine.
Compared to them I'm just a bug
which matched my brooding mood just fine.

The road had run along a ridge
so all directions led down hill
toward creeks that sedom see a bridge.
I paused to take arthritis pill.

Then I set out on my shambling quest,
seeking answers never asked
through lands with gullies amply blessed
my will still up to this stern task.

And through these pines so huge and dense
I didn't see much hint of man.
No house or barn or listing fence.
Of man this land was not a fan

I limped along and limped along
until my truck was out of sight.
Hearing naught but nature's song
then started up a hill, so slight.

Then at last I saw that hint
betraying someone's beaten dreams.
A terrace winding, twisting, bent.
This once was farmland, so it seems.

So I stopped and looked around
thinking how hard it must have been
trying to till such stony ground
far beyond most towns and men.

Long past some farmer'd made his stand
with force of muscle 'neath weathered tan.
Sometimes a man might break the land,
Here, though, the land broke one lone man.

I walked some more (a quarter mile)
For both my knees and spirit ached.
I found a log and sat a while
as cold wind blew and pine limbs quaked.

And then at last it came to me:
why these lands bore naught but trees.
Steep, rolling, rocky, thin soil you see
was fit to grow but woods like these..

I then arose with opened eyes
surveying quartz stone all around.
Plow shattering land, I surmized.
No man could break or plant this ground.

Like one who farms where crops won't grow
I stayed, still, beyond my time.
Just like him I'd come to know
failed efforts aren't always a crime.

Then wood ducks whistled their way past
as winter's eve came rapidly.
No time to think of ages passed.
I left ere land and dark broke me.

Style / type: 
Structured: Eastern
Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Review Request (Direction): 
What did you think of my title?
How was my language use?
What did you think of the rhythm or pattern or pacing?
How does this theme appeal to you?
How was the beginning/ending of the poem?
Editing stage: 


What other exquisite work have you penned or is this based on someone else?
It is fantastic.

"proper publishable poet "," exquisite work"..........damn, you make an old scribbler blush lol. I reckon just about everything I've ever written, save short stories, is to be found here on site. And no, this is entirely mine but was based on the term "breaking new ground" which means to put new land under cultivation. Also based on personal experiences of coming upon so many abandoned marginal farms which had apparently broken those who attempted to live off rough lands with poor soils.

Now I'll try to stuff my swollen head back into my old hat and say thank you for reading and leaving such supportive comment.......................stan PS if you have a Kindle, you can get a bit of my older stuff by purchasing "TO WALK BENEATH ASPENS' for only $.99.........

author comment

No kindle, love books

As do I but I've yet to be published in print (as if I ever Will be lol). I heard the closest university library is switching over to digital books sad. I also wonder what will happen comes a power outage.............stan

author comment

Never to get rid of my books

3 things I'll keep : my wife, my books, my guns lol,,,,,,,,,,,,,stan

author comment

beautiful x

Thank you. I appreciate the time it takes to read a longish poem such as this...................stan

author comment

As usual a stroll where others will never see,
the old place where the days seem now to be
where the strength of the land overcame such as me ,
there you wander to let us see, beyond that first tree.
Only one little hitch for me the word Trod in:-
"oft seeks to trod on silent land."
trod being past tense and the line is present ??
"oft seeks to tread on silent land" ??

There are a million reasons to believe in yourself,
So find more reasons to believe in others..

You're second one to bring up "trod" so I guess it must be wrong. So I'll think a bit on best replacement............stan

author comment

I see you are treading where I have Trod lol have a great weekend young Man and think of aspen groves on the warm evenings and that whipporwills call,
Yours Ian.T

There are a million reasons to believe in yourself,
So find more reasons to believe in others..

I'm kind of surprized anybody recall my having written of whippoorwills and aspens. I've done a bit of editing . Might say I TROD through this scribble lol.........stan

author comment

I nearly pulled you up on the spelling of Plow as here we use Plough, maybe our tools are a little bigger than yours lol
These damn language changes from UK to US, why you couldn't have had a King then it would have been UK of the Americas lol..
Take care young man it's a strange life we lead,
Yours Ian.T

There are a million reasons to believe in yourself,
So find more reasons to believe in others..

We once shared the same king. Then we became a republic. Now alas we have somebody who thinks himself an emperor..............stan

author comment

When you write this long you need to make a coherent narrative or argument.

A new workshop on the most important element of poetry-
'Rhythm and Meter in Poetry'

The only reason it came back on stream was the result of an edit so I Am trying for a bit of improvement. I think it IS a narrative though if you will pay attention it tells of a journet toward peace . And hopefully it is a journey taken on multiple levels.........................Hmmm........when a poem has to be explained that in itself denotes a certain lack of skill on behalf of the writer doesn't it?.............stan

author comment

Narrative itself is a very culturally diverse thing, not formed or structured by Western culture. I often miss the point of, in particular, Indigenous Australian stories.

A new workshop on the most important element of poetry-
'Rhythm and Meter in Poetry'

a golden sun sets..
all about us on our glacial lands up
here...are similar...
thin soil in one spot and bountiful farms
too this day still...
Home is where the heart is
gave it till the land gave no more

enjoyable write!
its like a serpents tale
winding....the beginning
and the end is a whole

not often I have gotten out
in the woods....but at one
time I used too cut cross
country....younger dayz
I like that U see and appreciate
both mans theme and natural
U see not the struggle but
the outcome...that man
cannot break all things
and that the dark breaks
too upon us at times...

a good poem
I enjoyed the read of it
after my walk with my
dog this evening
blackflies included
it was a good ending
Still got three quarters
a cup left..and didnt
dampen my smokes!

thank U!

I still get surprised when I edit a poem and it results in new comment(s) lol. I'm pleased you took time to slog through this long write and hope those black flies didn't feast on you too heavily. It's my understanding that those devils actually take a bite of you with them they don't just sting or bite they actually eat......makes chiggers seem tame.........stan

author comment

On first read I was imagining Johnny Cash singing it, it very much has the narrative and pace of a ballad. A bit to colloquial in parts for me, I would not start a line in poetry with "well,...."

Recently I saw this very interesting note by Carl Sandburg, who complained "that rhyme betrayed the poet's initial thoughts, as it was necessary to use only the words fitting the rhyme instead of the words that expressed (a poet's) first thought or feeling". Not sure I totally agree, as we have poets like Yeats who transcend that. There are certain stanzas here which I feel suffer from that thought, such as

These trees were far too wide to hug.
Their shade forebade both brush and vine.
Compared to them I'm just a bug
which matched my brooding mood just fine.

But by and large the rhymes work, when they are not "forced"

The poem has the feeling, for me, of a ballad to be sung, but is indeed too long, such a ballad would be Wagnerian. But it has many fine ideas in it. The end does echo the famous poem by Frost, "Stopping in the woods.."

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

It always surprises me a bit when a tiny edit elicits new comments lol. I appreciate the thought you put into this and agree that it's a long poem. But considering the length of the journey in both miles and spirit I don't really see where this can be pruned. Thanks for the visit........stan

author comment
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