Built to Last (inspired by John Prine’s “One Red Rose”)

Our Cabin by Rick Scully

The rain came down on the tin roof, creating a soft white noise that Lydia found soothing.

“That roof is built to last.”  said her Grandfather long ago and again and again in her childhood

Each time it rained.

“Not everything is built to last.  But that roof will outlive me.”

It rained the day of his funeral and the tin roof held.

Shielding them from the sorrow of their loss.

#     #     #

“Did you remember to give Phoebe her umbrella?” Lydia asked.

“No.  I thought you did.” replied Donald.

Lydia sighed, weary of words that went no where.

Her parents had given Donald and Lydia a week’s retreat at the family cabin,

An anniversary gift to the two of them,

And a birthday present to Phoebe, who shared the day with them.

They hoped it might help.

“It’s the least we can do,” they said.

#     #     #

“Why don’t we go to bed early and save clean up for tomorrow?” suggested Donald.

Lydia was too tired to protest.

She took one last look around the room.

Dirty paper plates.

Crumpled paper streamers.

Half-hanging cardboard sign.

She walked away, leaving the kitchen light on.

#     #     #

As Lydia walked to the bedroom, her eyes fell on the family Bible.

She opened it up and found the rose pressed between the pages.

She heard her Grandmother’s voice from the day Lydia shared the news of her engagement.

“Marriage is hard work,” said her Grandmother.

“I want you to have this.”

She gave Lydia the Bible.

“This is the holy alphabet for your marriage.”

She opened it up to a rose.

“Your grandfather gave me this rose on our wedding day.”

She closed the book and handed it to Lydia.

“I want you to keep this.”

#     #     #

Now, her grandmother was gone.

Lydia closed the Bible on the rose.

Some of its remains fell to the floor.

Some things just aren’t built to last.

This poem first appeared as a blog post on January 3, 2013.  It was republished in thematticuskingdom on March 26.  You can hear John Prine sing “One Red Rose” – here.

(photo: “Our Cabin” from Rick Scully, some rights reserved)

8 thoughts on “Built to Last (inspired by John Prine’s “One Red Rose”)

  1. I’m not sure what to say about this. The writing was superb. I felt Lydia’s frustration and sadness. And for some reason, I felt a sense of inevitable loss.

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