Vanishing Barn

By Paul Kloppenborg

Click the image above to see a larger photograph.

Vanishing Barn

The man's barn is the man's worth
The cedar's pungence, the mow and the light
These legacies of line and scale
Thatch, shingle, gable and slate
From soil to shelter, from timber, honey coloured
Rubbings from hay and straw, now lichen covered,
This rhythm of the bays,
That faint hickory creak,
Those fiddler tunes,
In rafters where love once hid.

The vanishing barn, its simplicity bends slowly,
Geometry ages on the brace,
Beams hugged by dowels of oak
Where cobwebbed corners once held a song.
Quebec, Chester County, the pilgrim's grip,
The threshing floor, between cows and calf, came his step
On the echo of pigeons wings,
Beauty had this space -
Porch whispers, silence shape,
The earthy smell of harvests long past.

Paul Kloppenborg


Paul Koppenborg is employed at the University Library, Melbourne. Vanishing Barn will appear in Praire Poetry later this year. Mr. Koppenborg’s anthology A Year on the Avenue was published in 1998 and a second volume will be published shortly in the U.S. For more information about his work, go to and


Although Paul lives in Australia, either of these two very different barns in Maryland or Louisiana, or your own barn, could have inspired the thoughts in Vanishing Barn.


Back to The Barn Journal front page.