by Jeffrey Murrell


The journey was tiring and a bit long,
But we pushed on and it was worth the wait.
The place was enveloped in soft sunlight;
Hot, yet exquisite and quite inviting.
The trees were glowing with autumn gold;
We were entering a community,
Pristine and untouched for many years.
There was a sign posted high in the air
Hailing welcome to all from above us;
A billboard stretching over the trees
With sun?bleached words that could barely say:
township untouched.
A place that was lost between dreams and life,
The stepchild of two nations, two peoples,
Balanced between them, cultured by both,
Abandoned by all government and time.
No kind of flying or rolling machine
Had ever transgressed its hidden boundaries,
Buried too deeply by the pioneers,
Founded and then abandoned at its height,
Civilization was not far away,
But the few who remained were not drawn out,
choosing, instead, to stay behind in peace;
Just a few cabins scattered in the woods,
Mostly homes, a blacksmith and general store,
Transportation by horseback or on foot.
I went separate from the group to gawk
At the fine simplicity of the place.
The afternoon was growing slightly dim;
I retired to an assigned guest cottage
For a warm shower in the outside stall,
Loosely fashioned of faded wooden planks;
A rinse in the sun in the open clean air,
Then a stroll in the cool evening light
And a soft bed of country?filled feathers
For another full day to be relaxed!
I changed clothes in the quaint, cozy cabin,
But in exiting I found myself not
Outside again, as would be expected,
But in the dark hall of a familiar house!
What witchcraft was this at work?
I turned left down the hall, saddened and shocked
To find a dim bedroom where shades were drawn
And pinned firmly down to vanquish the light.
And a woman was in the bed, asleep.
She was the ghost of a former life embodied,
So selfishly imposing once again!
But who was I to dare to disturb her?
How could I wreck her precious rare rest?

She had worked so hard and served me so well
(Or so she always said),
Always weary, always so giving;
No time for personal wants and needs,
Always sacrificing so, so much.
Flawless, faithful understanding was required
To see things her way.
But in her logic, one only sees what she desires.
I was enraged and so insulted!
She was, she is a former life set free
to pursue her petty, out?dated goals.
I was no longer obliged to accommodate her or

And she had no right to so demand,
Sweeping me off from a comfortable moment
to share her warped reality once again!
I went to a shade and snatched at a pin;
Oh, how I wanted to just rip it away
And blast her awake with a torrent of light!
But I couldn't bring myself to so disrespect her,
To make a racket and undo the pins.
She had fixed them so very securely;
Self?centered preparations for sleep
Hindered me enough to lose all my strength.
I cursed at her instead with a deafening cry,
Stormed out of there, and out of Altebusch.
Perhaps I did wake her with quite a start;
(I really do hope so!)

But that life could never have enough insight
To realize why I had done so.