I saw her today as she hid her face;
looking so ashamed and forlorn.
Her outside once so beautiful and loved,
now sagging and drooping from neglect and disrepair.
Sightless eyes stared emptily from between gnarled limbs.
My heart ached for this once beautiful dame of the south.
As I looked at her hiding in her disgrace,
I could almost see her glorious past;
Surrounded with happy laughter,
embracing those that filled her with so much love and happiness.
In her youth I can imagine her great beauty;
a beauty that drew admiring gazes from all that saw her.
I can almost feel the envy as women looked at her,
greedy for the admiration they would feel...
In her middle years I sense the loving attention
most likely became more of a task for those that catered and tended to her.
Still, her beauty shown through.
Her outward appearance required more and more work as she aged,
until finally everyone moved on to newer places,
leaving her alone with no one to love her or care for her anymore.
Now, there she sits, alone and falling slowly apart.
The once beautiful Southern Belle is no more.
This graceful old home now a disgraceful tangle of overgrown weeds,
broken down porches, sagging shutters and shattered glass.
Once someone's pride and joy;
now no one's concern.
Her doors stand permanently open,
no longer offering a warm, loving welcome to a happy family,
but now offering shelter to a variety of small creatures.
She sits there behind those concealing trees,
staring blankly out through the ancient, gnarled limbs of the old oaks
that were once lovingly planted and tended,
now grown old along with her,
hiding her shame for her as she slowly dies,
striving vainly to preserve that last shred of dignity.