Down Irons Road

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Fire orange maples like candle tongues

lick the chill blue sky.

He nods and coughs and turns to go

With no word of good-bye.

Which side he will join he never did say,

Just takes up the gun and load.

Her hands clutch the wool like burrs, then drop.

He stomps off down Irons Road.


The maples can burn and your soul in hell,

She sings to herself as she stands

On the green hardwood boards by the step,

As warmth returns to her hands.

She never did love him, and if he was cruel,

Her spirit could never be bowed.

Wind slams the door at her back. Her eyes

See nothing down Irons Road.


Sweet dogwood lace drapes over the frame.

The house is bare and cool.

The last mule is solid to the Union men.

All is gone, save for a jewel

That glitters and sparks with cold promise

To return the debt long owed.

Feet bound by boots, she will not look back

As she marches down Irons Roads.


– Marian Carpenter from Bourbon County Voices 1995