His gaze follows me
as I walk through the neighborhood,

an area growing faster
than the seeds his father
used to plant on their family farm,

all that is gone,

replaced by craft breweries
coffee shops, hair salons,

new visions replacing traces of the past,

he still lives on these streets,
volunteering at the community center,
doing the crossword at the corner diner,

he embraces old ways,
while accepting that nothing lasts forever,

except possibly this 200 foot silo mural,

he’s memorialized,
standing as a poignant reminder,
a symbolic talisman,
a humble, hard-working gentleman,

with a watchful eye and hopeful heart
for the ever-changing world at his feet,

he’s sowing seeds in others

that will continue to grow when he
Is no longer among us,

ensuring traces will remain
of the past that existed here.

On a recent visit to Nashville, Tennessee, I discovered this amazing mural on the side of a 200 foot silo. It was painted in 2017 by Guido van Helten, an Australian and a former graffiti artist, who now specializes in monochromatic, photorealistic murals. The silo was formerly part of the Gillette Grain Company but now sits in an area of the city called The Nation. It is located on a bend in the Cumberland River. The subject of the art is Lee Estes, a 100 year old resident of the area.
On the side of the silo, van Helten painted two children from Saint Luke’s Community House. They stand at 130 feet tall.

4 responses

  1. The beauty in these humans — old and young — through the murals and your words is comforting. Your poem connects the art to a life well lived.

  2. Maureen Shepherd | Reply

    A wonderful mural and the perfect words to honor the message and the man. ❤️

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: