The Old Burn Barrel

Momma used to tell us

daddy went away

to a special place

that we couldn’t see.

Momma used to tell us

never go play

by the old burn barrel

and the Hanging Tree.


Daddy worked away

back in ’33.

Came home crying

to my mom and me.

Little sister was too young

to remember why we

put the old burn barrel

by the Hanging Tree.


We never knew money,

and we never knew peace.

Daddy hit the bottle,

but he never hit me.

Momma says he hit bottom,

but he sure looked free

swinging out in the yard

from an old oak tree.


I climbed up,

momma held his feet;

cut daddy down,

but we couldn’t complete

the hole in the ground,

we were just too weak,

so we rolled an old barrel

up next to the tree.


Lit a fire so hot,

that the barrel glowed red

and I took sis inside

just like momma said

and daddy went away,

but the smell hung low

and we never did learn

where daddy did go.


But Momma always told

my little sister and me

not to play by the river,

or play by the stream

and if you find some old bones,

then you best let them be,

by the old burn barrel

and the Hanging Tree.


HG -2016

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