Wisdom's Shelter

A summer vacation this year brought me to Glen Arbor on the shores of lake Michigan near the "Sleeping Bear Dunes National Forest". Scattered throughout this scenic area of Michigan are the abandoned remains of pioneer farms, orchards and cemeteries. Coming unexpectedly upon crusted gravestones and rusted farm equipment reminded me of the book of Ecclesiastes.
Wisdom's Shelter
The QuiltWork Quill

Eclesiastes 7:12
Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor.


A vengeful forest has returned, demanding land
from which it had been banished
by rawboned men with roughened hands.
Fresh limbs and leaves cast gloom above a plot of stones
that marks the earth where now their strength lies vanished;
roots reaching for their rotting bones.

Here MOTHER in her lichen gown of brown and grey
bends down toward her day old
of EIGHTEEN HUNDRED FORTY ONE, took shallow breath,
came namelessly and unprepared, and then was gone...
her whispered pleas cut short by death.
Now useless, fruitless orchards hide in grass grown tall,
beneath the dirge of droning flies,
the rust of scythe and plow, that sprawl
in naked death; their skeletons on view to those
who wander by and with their prying KODAK eyes
immortalize their dying throes.
Scattered lie the battered barns; dry bones concealed
in shrouds of rust stained sheeting.
Where men and oxen plowed the fields
the glare of vanity reveals their labour stilled
and threatened grass sighs that its time is fleeting
as nettles choke a land untilled.
Below this sun, where hard faced men and haunted wives
lived out their years in toil filled days,
the tourists slow their four wheel drives
and trample on this tear damp soil in festive dress,
their beer and ballteam crested 'sweatshirts' a disgrace
on fields of dreams that died unblessed.
And high upon the ceaseless wind is heard again
the Preacher's Word: "Your labouring days
beneath this sun are spent in vain
if not the Son, who in His death removed the curse
on Eden's sin is worshiped in your prayer and praise.
Build therefore Wisdom's shelter first".

GlenArbor MI
July 1999