The Old Cistern
© By Grady L. Duncan
7/16/01
Not so many years ago,
were things that now seem strange,
like wash pots and clotheslines,
and the wood burning range.
A nail was your closet,
or a hook out in the hall.
There you hung your Sunday clothes,
hoping they wouldn't fall.
No plumbing in the house,
for that matter, none at all.
A cistern was all you had,
for rain, when it would fall,
caught from the house roof,
then to gutters and downspouts,
connected to the cistern,
where they all emptied out.
The gutters took constant care,
keeping them clean as a pin,
for whatever reached them,
would be in the cistern in the end.
Dust and dirt and pollen,
and leaves from the trees,
and birds were always generous,
leaving what they pleased.

The water was always sweet,
and cool as it could be,
drawn by a rope and bucket
on a squeaky pulley.
Deep, deep down below
in the darkness of that hole,
was the life sustaining liquid,
that kept us body and soul.
At times it seemed, alive.
Answering our every call.
Every word that we spoke,
it repeated them, one and all.
Beginning to whistle a tune,
it would join right in.
Each and every note,
with yours, it would blend.
The memories of those days,
like the echoes from a well,
come back to me so often,
more precious than I can tell.
Those times have passed forever,
but like the ringing of a bell,
The memories of my loved ones,
echo from deep within the well.
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