The Lone Sentinel (Guardian of the Past)

The Lone Sentinel
The Lone Sentinel | Source

Bill Holland's (billybuc) Challenge

In his hub "A Writing Challenge: The Lone Sentinel" Bill said that his good buddy Mike (Mr Archer) wrote to him recently with an idea for a writing challenge as follows:

“Bill, ... I had a thought this weekend ... We were traveling the interstate between Joplin and Springfield and I spied a fireplace not far from the road. It is a sight I look for every trip and have seen it many times over the years. But his time I wondered: what is its story? Then I thought of you and your challenges and wondered if you could inspire others to create such a story............."

Bill then provided a suitable photo to act as a prompt. So there you have it.

I had to delete most of the background of the challenge as it flagged as duplicate.

"The Lone Sentinel (Guardian of the Past)" is the poem I have written in response to both Bill's and Mr Archer's challenge. However as a prelude to that I decided to include another piece of poetry I had already written but not yet published. I felt it was a little too short and basic for a hub of it's own, but it is along the same theme and I think works well as the first part of the story..."The Settler's Homestead."

The settler'sl homestead
The settler'sl homestead | Source
Source
Source

The Settler's Homestead

by John Hansen 2014

The early settlers did it rough

Harsh conditions, times were tough.

Logs and flitches made a home,

The landscape rock and sandy loam.


Carting water from the stream,

To own some land the settler's dream.

Red dirt floor or termite mound,

Fence the boundary all around.


Herd the cattle, shear the sheep,

Work hard all day then get some sleep.

Up at dawn to milk the cows,

Plow the soil and feed the sows.


Build a dam to catch the rain

To water stock and grow the grain.

Six years' drought and then a flood,

A settler's life is sweat and blood.


Life is hard but brings reward,

If with nature you're in accord.

I guarantee you won't be bored

Especially when you trust the Lord.

The Lone Sentinel
The Lone Sentinel | Source
The original homestead in its heyday.
The original homestead in its heyday. | Source

The Lone Sentinel (Guardian of the Past)

by John Hansen 2015


The sentinel stands alone

Proud but silent

Once protected and revered

Now bared to the elements

Of Nature's wrath.

Time has taken its toll

The once majestic structure

Of which it was a part

Long gone

Ashes to ashes,

Dust to dust.

Dreams shattered. Ashes to ashes.
Dreams shattered. Ashes to ashes. | Source
All that remains.
All that remains. | Source

A year of sweat and love

Once created a home

A haven

A place of birth and death

Of good times and bad

Feast and famine

Laughter and tears

All gone in an instant

A puff of smoke.

The fires that burned within

The reason for its existence

Just one stray spark

The cause of its demise.

A precious life was lost

Grieving passes

Though memories linger.

Nature encroaches
Nature encroaches | Source

Still the sentinel stands

Its rock column still proud

Though nature encroaches

Day by day

Year by year

To reclaim its own.

Memories are held here

Within each weathered stone

If perchance a passer by

May take the time to pause

Etched in a stone

Above the hearth

The simple words are clear:

"R.I.P. Sweet Emma Jane

Be with the Lord my dear."

A basic wreath
A basic wreath | Source

A wreath was placed

By the fireplace door

Each year upon this day,

But now it seems that kindly soul

Has also passed on by.

The chimney spire alone stands strong

Like a guardian of the past

A reminder of times gone by

And all who've come and gone.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lest we forget.

What type of hub challenges do you enjoy most?

  • Picture prompts.
  • A set theme,phrase, or word prompt.
  • A song prompt.
  • Anything as long as it's original and challenging.
  • Any challenge by Billybuc.
  • All of the above.
  • I don't like challenges. They take me out of my comfort zone.
See results without voting

© 2015 John Hansen

More by this Author


Comments 53 comments

dghbrh profile image

dghbrh 19 months ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

I loved reading this one. Thanks for this share. The memories, the pain, the proud feelings all are depicted so clearly yet so beautifully. Shared and votes up beautiful.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you dghbrh. You read it just in time. It has been unpublished as "duplicate" due to my including Bill's introduction. I have had to delete part of it to get the hub published again...still waiting.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 19 months ago from The Caribbean

Jodah, glad that is has been published. Both the background and the focus on the chimney come through in beautiful lines that paint a heartwarming story.


Sara Sarwar Riaz profile image

Sara Sarwar Riaz 19 months ago from Michigan, USA

Beautiful and nostalgic. The lives lived, times celebrated and losses endured… You summarized it all in a few verses. Splendidly written as always.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you MsDora. This is the longest I have ever had to weight for a hub to be approved for publishing..my fault for writing it on a Friday and then having a long weekend in the USA. It's always great to get your comment. Have a great week.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Sarah, thank you for reading. I so appreciate your positive comment. So many great responses were written while I was struggling to get mine published.


sallybea profile image

sallybea 19 months ago from Norfolk

Jodah

I felt very much immersed in the American way of life when I read this, made all the more authentic with both the words and images. I found this the most difficult aspect of this challenge, very difficult to achieve when you have never been to this part of the world. I felt that you did a really good job on this challenge.

Sally


billybuc profile image

billybuc 19 months ago from Olympia, WA

You are so good, John. It was interesting reading an earlier poem by you and then this new one....there is considerable growth in John the Poet. Well done. I think you captured the spirit of this challenge perfectly. Thank you for hanging in there and overcoming the HP curse.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Sally, I am glad that you felt I captured the essence of the American way of life in these poems. Actually I think our countries are more similar than we sometimes realise. Australia's early settlers experienced similar conditions and trials to their American counterparts. Thanks for your kind comment.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Bill. I am glad my progress as a writer is evident. I agree with you about these two especially. I felt the first one was never good enough to publish here unless part of a collection but this gave me an opportunity to use it. I do feel the second "The Lone Sentinel" is much more polished. Thanks to you and Mr Archer for the challenge, glad I eventually appeased the HP gods.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

This was finally cleared for publishing after being declared to contain "duplicate" content, now it is "not featured" because it's considered "overly promotional". Looks like I can't please HP with this one. oh well, life goes on.


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 19 months ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

John, the two poems worked very well together. I know farm life in those old days was hard, just as you have described. I'm sure fire was a constant concern, due to lighting and heating with open flames. The wreath being hung every year as a memorial was sweet, and I felt the sadness when it stopped appearing. Very emotional writing.

I'm puzzled about why your hub was flagged and mine wasn't. I copied and pasted Bill's whole introduction. Sorry you had such a difficult time. It's very frustrating going head to head with a software program. Thanks for persevering. It was worth the wait.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for the great comment Cam, glad you could feel the emotion. I can't figure it out either, I read a couple of the responses that copied the whole intro...maybe there were just too many by the time I tried to publish. I'm sure this is wrong, but I feel like I am being penalised because my last hub did very well and I did criticise HP's process a little in it regarding poetry, HOTD etc. I had one Amazon link on this hub to an anthology that one of my short stories is published in but removed it because the hub is now flagged as having too much "spam". I only had two Amazon capsules.


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 19 months ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

John, You got HOTD this time, but it wasn't the one you may have hoped for. It's actually called the WPOHPS award or Who P*** Off the HP Staff award. Congratulations.....or not. You may want to experiment with some "How To" Haikus or a "Top Ten Vacation Spots Down Under" Poem. Just a thought. :) Fitting the mold may just not be our style.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Haha Cam, those suggestions are not out of the question for me. I have already committed myself to breaking the mold, combining poetry with "How To" and "Recipes". Cheers.


Rayne123 19 months ago

This is great, challenges always a great way to keep one alert, not to mention meet others along the way.

It's like putting a puzzle together, it sharpens the mind.

This piece is beautiful, it shows character of what seems to us now, of simpler times. It reminds me of sitting around a fire the old fashion way.

Your poems are great, they tell a rustic story of history.

Blessings

Laurie


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading this hub Laurie. Yes, I love these challenges they do exactly that and often make you to write in ways you normally wouldn't consider. So glad you liked my poems and the story they describe. Bless you too.


DDE profile image

DDE 19 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Hi Jodah a great challenge and yu certainly knew how to approach the title.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks DDE, you are always so kind in your comments. If only I could get this featured. HP doesn't like it, I don't know why.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Wow, finally got this hub featured. That is the most trouble I have ever had with any hub, a week from first trying to have it published to being featured. It took me four days to actually get it approved for publication simply because of repeating part of Bill's introduction and since then it has been in featured because of "spammy" elements which I also thought rather crazy. Better late than never I guess.


Homeplace Series profile image

Homeplace Series 19 months ago from Hollister, MO

Thank you for adding your unique touch to the Lone Sentinel challenge! ;-)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

My pleasure to participate in another challenge Bill, thank you for reading and for your kind comment.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 19 months ago from southern USA

Oh, wow, John, somehow I missed your response to Bill's challenge? I just clicked on your profile and saw this one, and I am so glad I did.

I love both of your poems here. I believe you have lived up to the challenge and then some. These poems are both so visual in one's mind's eye that no imagery is necessary.

Up interesting, beautiful and awesome, tweeting, pinning and sharing (in case others have missed this one too)

Peace and blessings


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Faith, I toyed with actually re-sharing this because I had so much trouble getting it published. It was published long enough for one comment before it was deemed to be "duplicate" due to Bill' introduction. It then took me four days to get the duplication removed only to find it was "un-featured" because of "spam". It took a week for it to be featured, so I think others may have missed it too even though Bill ha a link on his hub. Thanks for your generous comment, vote up and for sharing.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 19 months ago from southern USA

Oh, dear, that is not fair in my mind, as HP should send out another notice that you published a hub! I have never agreed with that, because no one will know that it is published unless they send out a notice.

I am sorry you had so much trouble, especially being you did a great job with this challenge.

Blessings


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks again Faith.


Anna Haven profile image

Anna Haven 19 months ago from Scotland

Morning Jodah

Your photographs worked really well with the first poem, it was a very visual read and gave a real overview of the lives of the time.

The second poem was beautifully crafted with a whole plotline running through it. Nice work.

Poems aren't the most revered on here. When I last published one my Hubscore dropped faster than a raindrop in a storm and has stayed there! Who wants to conform though. :)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for that wonderful comment Anna. You are right about the status afforded poetry here, that is why I usually intersperse my poetry hubs between short stories or articles as well as experimenting with adding poetry to recipe hubs etc. It seems to be working because my hub score is the highest it has ever been at 98 and has been steady there for a couple of weeks. I am far from a conformist believe me.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for that wonderful comment Anna. You are right about the status afforded poetry here, that is why I usually intersperse my poetry hubs between short stories or articles as well as experimenting with adding poetry to recipe hubs etc. It seems to be working because my hub score is the highest it has ever been at 98 and has been steady there for a couple of weeks. I am far from a conformist believe me.


Anna Haven profile image

Anna Haven 19 months ago from Scotland

Long may that deserved high score continue.

I have been reading your words long enough and saw your perpetual and heartfelt advocacy of poetry here right through that time... therefore I could definitely never confuse you with a conformist. :)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

:) Anna.


Mr Archer profile image

Mr Archer 19 months ago from Missouri

I LOVED IT! You truly have a way with words John. I especially liked the line where you referenced the drought, then a flood. The life of those souls was far more difficult than we can imagine and that captures it perfectly. Great job!!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Mr Archer(Mike), I appreciate your kind comment. Glad you liked this and thanks for coming up with this great challenge and passing it on through Bill. These hub challenges are wonderful writing prompts and the results are usually impressive. There are some great responses to this one.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 19 months ago from New York

So glad you finally got things straightened out and got this hub featured. Your poems capture the past so well. The struggles and hardships overcome by people of determination and foresight. It reads smoothly and makes us feel the people of the past. Beautifully done!

Voted up, awesome, beautiful, and interesting.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Mary, thank you for that great comment. I am glad my poetry succeeds in portraying the past. Maybe my niche should be writing historical poetry :) thank you for the vote up.


Harishprasad profile image

Harishprasad 19 months ago from India

In both poems, you brought the past alive in it's different shades. How time consumes everything , live and lifeless alike, but the vestige of the past is seen in ruins and reminds of so many things. We can only imagine those. You have said those things poetically so beautifully. I enjoyed each of these verses. A fantastic response to Bill's challenge.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Harishprasad, it is satisfying to remember the past and the lives of those who lived before through writing, both prose and poetry. I think it is one of the responsibilities of us as writers to keep history alive.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thanks for sharing the poems, Jodah. I enjoyed them both. The first one is an interesting description of history and the second is a great response to Bill's challenge.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Alicia. Glad you enjoyed these poems. Yes, they are both very different.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 19 months ago from USA

You've done a remarkable job with just a photo to work with -- so creative, John. I often wonder about the life stories that have decayed along with abandoned old homesteads and burned down buildings. I've ventured into a few of them and it was like stepping back in time.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Flourish, yes all the old buildings and ruins have so much they could tell if only they had words to speak. Famous ones usually have their stories told by historians and the like but many just decay and crumble without anyone knowing about the life stories that occurred within them. Thanks for reading and for your kind comment.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

Settlers never had it easy, and they are truly the salt of the earth. Wonderfully said on both accounts.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

That's a true statement Deb. We don't know how easy we have it now.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 19 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

Hi John. My apologies for being late in commenting, but this crazy winter has caused me to become behind in many things.

“Memories are held here

Within each weathered stone…”

This is great poetry, John. You have captured, beautifully, the whispers of the past, beloved memories embedded in the silent stone, born of the earth, and passing back to it, as nature slowly reclaims what is left behind. Excellent work. :-)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Genna, I appreciate how difficult the cold Winter must be making things. It's good to get comments later when you aren't expecting them. I appreciate your generous and insightful comment.


mary615 profile image

mary615 18 months ago from Florida

Bill's photo reminds me of when I was growing up in the country (many years ago!). If a country house caught fire, it could not be saved, because the fire station was many miles away from these farmhouses. These chimney remains could be seen all over the countryside; heartbreaking to see.

Voted UP, and shared.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 18 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for sharing your childhood memories about those lone chimney remains Mary. It would have been heartbreaking to see how many lives were effected. Thanks for the vote up and share too.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 15 months ago

Wow John! This is really beautiful and I really enjoyed to poetry.

You are an excellent poet. I don't know how I missed this one.

Voted up, ABI and shared

Blessings and Hugs dear friend.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 15 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Shyron, better late than never. It's always good when a hub that hasn't had much activity in awhile suddenly gets new comments. Thanks for the vote up and share. Blessings and hugs back.


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 14 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

Interesting treatment, John. You painted a picture. I'm not much for poetry myself - although I've tinkered in the past - being more prosaic.

(I turned my response into a ghost story in M R James' style in the STORYLINE series).


Jodah profile image

Jodah 14 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for reading this Alan. At one stage 90% of my hubs were poetry but now I have tried to diversify into a number of different types of writing. Poetry is still my first love however. I do enjoy these challenges however. I read your response to this challenge too..great job.


swalia profile image

swalia 8 months ago

Wow! Such beautiful poems in response to a challenge. I loved these lines:

Life is hard but brings reward,

If with nature you're in accord.

I guarantee you won't be bored

Especially when you trust the Lord.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading another of my hubs Swalia and for your encouraging comment. I am pleased you like those words in particular. Blessings.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Jodah profile image

    John Hansen (Jodah)685 Followers
    267 Articles

    John has been writing poetry since his school days. He was awarded "Poet of the Year 2014" Hubby Awards and has had two poems become songs.



    Click to Rate This Article
    working