Broken Fences


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Brown Onion Soup

Heygirl, she loved to swing up to the sky
on an old tire swing hangin' from the barn ties
and run through the fields on out back'o the barn
lost in those days when her Pa ran the farm
She'd sit and string daisys while Ma hung the wash
and help pick the apples her Pa sold for cash
When Little Ned came she'd push him in her buggy
and take him to Ma when his diaper was soggy
Those hot summer days when she played by the stream
diggin' for crawdads and dreamin of ice-cream
and sultry summer evenins' sittin' out on the step
or catchin' the fireflies in a flour sack net
Oh how she loved to hear her Ma sing
as Pa strummed his guitar out on the porch swing
He'd say, sing to me Honey, and she'd say, Oh Bill
just play me the song of the ol'Whippoorwill

Gone were the days when her Mama would sing
gone were the evenins' out on the porch swing
gone was the light that once shown in Ma's eyes
gone was the Whippoorwill and the fireflies
gone like the crawdads from the ol' dried up stream
all faded away like a little girls dreams

Heygirl, she looked like a wee little tot
that day when he saw her there stirrin' the pot
The stool that she stood on so rickety it wobbled
While out in the parlor her Ma and Grampa squabbled
He stepped to the stove to see what was cookin'
and saw her tears fall in the pot she was brewin'
Onions? He asked, when she ducked her head in shame
and slowly she nodded when he asked for her name
Heygirl, she answered with a far away look
I'm just a no one here tryin' to cook
You're much too small to be working like this
and he noticed the apron tied 'round her small chest

But I gotta fix supper for my little brother Ned
and Baby lies cryin' upstairs in her bed
A bottle is empty there next to the sink
and we ain't got no cereal and no milk to drink
Grampa has his jug he keeps filled from the still
Ma spends all her time starin' over the hill
You see, that's where he went the day Papa left
and before Grampa came back, Ma wept as she swept
the dirt and the ashes from their empty room
then after his funeral, she burned the broom
Pa never knew of the child in Ma's womb
now Baby lies cryin' upstairs in her room
Grampa came back to take care of the farm
but says he can't do much without a good barn

Gone were the days when her heart was so light
gone with the ashes left that dreadful night
gone where the lightening struck that fateful day
gone with the barn freshly stocked with new hay
gone with the horses Pa ran to set free
as the roof of the old barn fell him to his knees

Slowly she stirred with a long wooden spoon
and said some day I'm gonna fly to the moon
Her eyes lit with fire as words spilled from her lips
she spoke of white horses, knights, kings, and starships
Her tiny voice sang as she told him her dreams
of castles in clouds, silk gowns and chocolate creams
Of fairies adorned all in gold, gems and pearls
that bring all the things wished by all little girls
Then slowly the fire in her eyes fizzled out
as a cry from the baby caused Grampa to shout
Heygirl, just what are you doin' in there
don't you hear the baby, it's cryin' upstairs
Yes Grampa, I'm fixin' some brown onion soup
I'll take some to baby and little Ned too
She filled bowl and bottle with soup from the pot
And went upstairs mumbling, this soup is too hot

So he went to the parlor to speak to Grampa
where he sat in a stupor starin' at Heygirl's Ma
She sat in her rocker starin' over the hill
Just rockin' and waitin' to be with her Bill
He leaned down to see her, right close to her chair
Grampa said, leave her alone boy, cause she ain't all there
So he stepped through the screen door out onto the porch
just as the sunset lit up like a torch
He went down the steps and into the sand
when from an upstairs window, Heygirl called to the man
He stopped and he turned sayin' I'll be back soon
then you and me, Heygirl, we'll fly to the moon
Then quickly he ran and faded from sight
as the sun set its blanket of stars for the night
But I don't know your name, she whispered toward the hill
And echoing back softly came the words
My name's Bill.

Seasons Change