Driving by you have to look up, up eyes
Sweeping through a tunnel of trees, past
The gate to where it stands, alone buffeted
By wind, hail, ice, heat, cold and tragedy.  

No one knew the latest owner well, he
Kept his own counsel, never seemed to
Stray much beyond his well-kept fences.
Didn’t spend Sunday at church or croquet  

Cars didn’t turn in his drive, one truck, his
Was all anybody saw come and go. Some
Of the church ladies took him some welcome
Cake and a casserole. Didn’t break the ice.  

They whispered he was not unkind, just busy
And they didn’t linger long enough to chat.
Trails of tales sprang from that visit, none
Of which spread a single grain of truth. Said  

He had piercing eyes, bushy hair, uncut, a beard,
Wearing clothes so worn the threads were poor
At hiding a scarred knee and battered arm.
Men at the store, told it straighter, held his liquor.
Spoke little, one to listen, paid his bill not warm.  

Folks coulda tried some harder had they a glimmer
He would shoot himself late one morning before dinner.
Tales were told, mysteries never unfold, stark, cold.
House stayed empty and at the last burned that winter.    

Tree tunnel grew so thick, memory seemed to fade,
The shame not so easy to bury at close of day.
Neighbors clucked together about the way
Poor man so alone, had none to help, they say.