He sat upon his wooden porch, with lemonade in hand,
A weathered, aging farmer, looking out upon his land;
His skin was wrinkled, deep and brown; his overalls were worn,
The hat of straw tipped somewhat to the side, was slightly torn.
He raised the glass toward his lips, and pondered for a spell,
And grimaced at the bitter taste he'd come to know so well;
No, life had not been kind to him, alone he languished there,
Once filled with joy and happiness, he'd lost the will to care.
With calloused hands that matched his heart, he brushed a fly away,
And surveyed his surroundings, for the porch was in decay;
He swayed upon the creaking swing he once had built with pride,
A present to his loving wife, when she became his bride.
He let his mind drift swiftly back for just a moment then,
Their courtship was a whirlwind, he … the envy of all men;
She was a beauty through and through, his heart had overflowed,
The day they sat beside the swimming hole and he proposed.
His father had allowed the town to gather at this pond,
A tranquil place of joy and peace just past his woods beyond;
And so it was the perfect place, so many people came,
To celebrate the couple there, as she took on his name.
They started out their wedded bliss, no closer could they be,
Until one fateful day arrived that he could not conceive;
The morning that his wife gave birth, a complication grew,
His wife and son were lost that day ... he simply then withdrew.
The dreams they shared, his love of life had died that tragic day,
He buried them beside the pond, tucked mem'ries far away;
He posted signs, "No Swimming" and he closed it to the town,
And chased away those few who dared defy his sacred ground.
He blamed the doctor, blamed the Gods, he blamed most everything,
And dwelled in all that bitterness, each day upon his swing;
Quite suddenly, he braced his feet, and listened with intent,
The sounds of distant laughter drifted through the wind's torment.
He jumped up, sent the lemonade careening to the floor,
And grabbed his pitchfork as he ran toward the pond once more;
His sign had been enough to drive so many on their way,
But still he fought with children who would dare to come and play.
He neared the pond, and stopped behind the giant maple there,
He chose to sneak up quietly, and give them quite a scare;
But as he peeked around the trunk, he gasped in disbelief,
He swore he looked into the past, he could not even speak.
A young man with his back to him, was kneeling on the ground,
In front of him, a lovely girl stood blushing looking down;
She had an air of beauty, and a smile that brightly beamed,
He hesitated, frozen there, like looking through a dream.
He heard the words reverberate and echo off the pond,
The man had uttered "Marry me …", she waited to respond;
She shyly nodded up and down, then broke into a smile,
As giddily, the man jumped up and lifted her in style.
He twirled her round about the bank … he tripped, and they fell in,
Then rose above their laughter as they kissed and smiled and grinned;
He whistled and cavorted, yelling loud and proud and free,
Unknown that they were being watched beyond the maple tree.
The farmer hidden by the trunk, looked on in reminisce,
Remembering the love he knew, the sweetness of a kiss;
He felt a teardrop slowly fall, the first he'd ever shown,
So many years had past and only anger had he known.
He watched the couple as they climbed out of the swimming hole,
And heard the woman chatter in excitement, loud and full …
"Oh please ... I'd love to marry you, right here along the shore!"
"But dare we ask permission to?" she quietly implored.
"Let's go!" He said and took her hand, "For maybe if we ask,"
"He'll join us as our guest!" He smiled, and urged her down the path;
The farmer watched them drift along the long lane toward his home,
Then wandered to his sign that said "No Swimming" was condoned.
His pitchfork still in hand, he raised it up and scratched out "No" …
Then rushed to make it home before his guests would ever know.