Hardship Throughout the Country Steals a Man’s Happiness

The road is arid, rut filled, and dusty as I make my way south,
there’s not enough moisture in the air to keep my lips moist.
It has been several days since I ate and my water supply is low,
afraid to get off the beaten path for fear the sun will end me.
I’ve been gone for many years, I’ve missed Mum and Dad,
hope I can make it home to Texas before it’s too late.

Times have been hard and lean for me throughout my life,
my dog died in Mississippi, I couldn’t go on for a while,
and he’d been with me for more than fifteen years, it’s sad.
There’s not a job anywhere to be found and the pay is zilch,
a worker might get a bed in the barn and a heel of old bread.
A person has to do what a person has to do and not hesitate.

Life brings pain and strife but there’s no time to dwell,
must continue or I’ll miss seeing Mum and Dad in time.
I hope I’m not too late to make it to the old home place,
don’t know if my soles will hold out…they’ve been tacked.
I’m not sure if hot weather is better than cold weather,
storms nip at my heels, wind storms beat at my brow.

It’s a lonely walk…miles and there’s not anything in sight,
mirages appear to play games with my mind and eyes.
I left New York in early May, days are hard to keep track of,
often pray for nights to come to cool my being, keep sun off me.
It’s hard to find a spot to sleep, never know what’ll come looking;
I imagine all sorts of critters nibbling on my bones as I sleep.

I’ve never been married, times were too lean to keep a wife,
and it was difficult to keep a place to sleep and food in my mouth.
Life’s been at its worse and there’s no-one who can help,
they’re in the same situation as I am and everyone else is too.
I left home in search of riches to buy Mum and Dad a nice home,
and Mum a pretty pair shoes and a brand new dress too.

Time have been hard and lean for me throughout my life,
no luck at anything but searching and hoping for a gold rush.
I’ve been gone for years, miss my siblings, Mum and Dad,
don’t know if I’ll ever see any of them again in this life but, but,
if we all make it to heaven I know I’ll see them all up there,
I hope they’ll all know me, I’ve been gone most of my life.

Sole writer of this free verse poem is Barbara Kasey Smith.