Analysis of Poem "Deserted Farm" by Mark Vinz

Updated on June 18, 2017
chef-de-jour profile image

Andrew has a keen interest in all aspects of poetry and writes extensively on the subject. His poems are published online and in print.

Mark Vinz
Mark Vinz | Source

Mark Vinz and Deserted Farm

Deserted Farm is a short free verse poem which focuses on a ruined farm and makes a stark contrast between the fortunes of the former resident family and the growth of flowers, which hold hope for the future.

Mark Vinz creates a powerful atmosphere in this well observed poem, using imagery and poetical device to highlight the theme of change, both social and environmental.

With astute use of figurative language he combines simile and sensitivity, personification and perception, and the end result is a poem that is beautifully balanced: ' definition of what a poem is comes down to this special way of seeing.'

So the poem shifts from the initial observance of a missing barn, through to the visual idea of a remaining 'beast' and on to the house that comes alive in a kind of religious agony, time weighing heavy on the timbers. Finally, hope is growing in the form of lilac flowers, reaching up to the sun.

Deserted Farmhouse

Where the barn stood

the empty milking stalls rise up

like the skeleton of an ancient sea beast,

exiled forever on shores of prairie.

Decaying timber moans softly in twilight;

the house collapses like a broken prayer.

Tomorrow the heavy lilac blossoms will open,

higher than the roofbeams, reeling in wind.

Analysis of Deserted Farm

Deserted Farm is a poem of eight lines, split equally into two stanzas. As a free verse poem it has no set rhyme scheme or meter (metre in the UK) but it does have mixed iambic and anapaest meter in certain lines:

the empty milking stalls rise up (iambic tetrameter)

the house collapses like a broken prayer (iambic + anapaest)

Note the use of enjambment too which tends to let the line without punctuation flow on into the following line, increasing pace for the reader and maintaining the sense. This happens in the opening two lines.

End line punctuation then plays a minor role in controlling the speed and as there is no rhyme to tie the poem together, the whole creation seems loose and uncertain.

The internal rhyme provides some support. Note the varied assonance in the second stanza: moans/broken/Tomorrow/blossoms/roofbeams.


To create a feeling of painful loss over time and some sorrow the narrative contains words such as: stood, empty, skeleton, ancient, exiled, forever, decaying, moans, collapses, broken.

Juxtaposed against this heavy, solemn language, is that of small hope: Tomorrow, open, higher, reeling.


There is strong imagery in this poem, the use of which helps create pictures in the reader's mind, enhancing the experience of meaning. What about those bones of an ancient sea beast? Made of metal or wood or both, they work on the mind as the dry prairie turns into a tidal sea and the barn perhaps is now mere driftwood?

The house collapsing like a broken prayer is also powerful. Again, what is non-material, the prayer, is now transformed into the physical - timbers and planks. The lines combine to produce these pictures that can bring deeper understanding.

More Analysis

Although the overall mood or tone of the poem is rather sad and melancholic, there is a note of positive hope at the end, which offsets the idea of things being lost forever.

The obvious relation of skeleton to death and destruction can have a strong impact on the reader. What were once spaces for healthy cows are now empty and devoid of life. Where fresh milk once flowed all is dry and deserted; nothing but metal or wooden frames exist. The narrator sees a dead sea beast, not milking cows.

And the personified house is in pain, having been the busy family HQ, where a family, perhaps god-fearing people, were in need of help as the looming disaster approached. It is a scene of grievance and desperation. All that hard work, all the dreams tied up in the farm have been dashed.

Nature however doesn't really give a fig about human pain and endeavor. It simply carries on. Out of the ruins come flowers, lilacs, growing strong as the sun beats down and the wind stirs.

These flowers are symbols of hope without a doubt - they're reaching up out of the ashes so to speak, and will perhaps one day see the return of a young farming family, re-builders of the future.

© 2017 Andrew Spacey


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)