Poetry: “Safe Harbor Village the perfect subject for a miniature-artist”

Here’s a free verse poem that Joseph Estlack was inspired to write after his recent visit to Safe Harbor. Enjoy!

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Safe Harbor
Safe Harbor Village in Conestoga Township is the perfect
subject for a miniature-artist. All it’s parts, the dam, the stream,
the haunted woods, seem to get into your pockets. For weeks, I
was pulling out pieces deserving of one’s meticulous touch. At
first it was just a Google search. We read that treasure hides
paces away from a tombstone. A website makes it look
charming enough for walks. My wife and I go. While we drive
there, she reads from her phone about the glacier, the 1,200
people, their houses and taverns, the ambitions for the power
plant. It meets the standards set for beautiful parks, a few
tables, a little pavement. We follow blue and white tags nailed
to trees. The trail used to be an actual street. The earth is still
swallowing someone’s old stonework. Both sides host large
indentations where houses used to be. There are mounds where
chimneys went and the digesting remnants of foundations. In a
single stroll, I build the whole town back up. I pull together
two moments, each from opposite ends of a century. All of a
sudden I smell breakfast. I hear the clodding on cobblestone. I
see men leaving for work. A little girl brushes my knee on her
way to school. She sees me in her street standing in tennis
shoes. The church bell rings once then vanishes that instant
taking with it the girl and bacon. It’s footprint returns with
wobbling rocks in place of the congregation. On top of one
particularly sinking and jagged, is a penny to mark a civil war
veteran. Twenty-Nineteen it says. It hangs half way off the
edge. It was set it in the center newly minted. It’s now March
Twenty-Twenty. Lincoln is facing forward toward his soldier.
There is no looking back. Who knows better than he.

by Joseph Estlack

Safe Harbor Rolling Mill was so large it covered over an acre of ground. Its location is on the present-day tennis courts.

Learn More

Click any link below to learn more about historic Safe Harbor whether via a self-guided walking tour, treasure hunting adventures, or the general history of the area.

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