These Barren Fields

These Barren Fields

These Barren Fields 150 150 Jason Ramsey

These barren fields,
Wolf-grey coats of bark and
Dust, coarse lines bleeding
Trails, idle in stillness,
Parsed, perched,
Widows of breath,
Brittle as ash in wind
Sit slack-jawed, cold,
Hinterlands of impervious past.

Fields once green with
Life, sealed to drought,
Shielded by lushness,
Beauty, palpable energy,
Footprints, Hoof prints,
Sun-soaked stems and
Petals under dalliances of
bliss, impenetrable to
heaven’s prevailing winds

At long last burn – shimmers
Of light, heat, soft sparks
Glinting at night, radiate in
Glory as hunters’ souls fall
Dim. These barren fields,
Once fortresses, iron trestles,
Mastheads of solitude, now lay
Bare, soiled by sin, awash in
Blood splintered from their roots.


Jason Ramsey

Jason Ramsey is the founder and executive director of ALTARWORK and Amity Coalition. He's married with five kids - including two sets of twins - and walks the tightrope of family, job, and ministry with both eagerness and unease. He gravitates towards mental health advocacy, social and religious equality, hard-life fiction, classical liturgy, modern worship, the Detroit Tigers, and all things Michigan State University. His writing has been featured at Patheos, Venn Magazine, The Mudroom, and The Bees Are Dead, among others. Connect with him below!

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  • Jason, First of all, wow! I love poetry because metaphors are open to reader interpretation. I read this poem silently at first. Then I read aloud a few more times. I thought about the state of a person’s heart when it becomes jaded by trials or abuse. I thought about the condition of our nation, so in need of Christ. I thought of the world at large, in its desperation, crying out to the Creator for revival. Well, that’s my take. It’s a marvelous poem. I want to know what you had in mind when you wrote it. Thanks for sharing and God bless!

  • Thanks for your kind words, Beckie. I was thinking of just that – the world at large – and how we humans have destroyed it over time. It’s not quite post-apocalyptic — I wasn’t thinking that far ahead. Certainly the metaphor can be applied on personal levels, too. Either way, thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  • Stephanie Thompson January 21, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Jason, your words painted a vivid picture for me. Beautiful poem. I often gaze at naked land imagining what transpired upon it. Oh if the trees could talk!
    ” Mastheads of solitude, now lay
    Bare, soiled by sin, awash in
    Blood splintered from their roots” What a powerful image!

  • Deep and moving. I loved the poem. I had to read several times before I came to any conclusion about its meaning. I live in Tennessee, and the first thing that popped into my mind were the senseless forest fires that almost destroyed Gatlinburg. The last time I read it I felt the pain of a decaying world. Humanity sinks further and further into its own destruction and feels less and less remorseful. Thanks for sending me the link.

    • Thanks so much for reading, Nellie. My vision when writing it aligned with your last interpretation. I appreciate your kind words.