___________________________________________________________________ Russell Butcher worked and lived in Widen for many years. Although he has long since gone from there, he has remembered the town in several works of poetry. This poem closely complements the story of Widen and Dille published elsewhere on these pages. That story was written by Mr. Butcher's aunt Lola Butcher Given.
"Remembering Widen" Russell Butcher Langmont, Colorado July 1998 My senses return with a clear recall like I'd just awoke from my dreaming to the click of balls in the old pool hall and the three o'clock whistle screaming. The acrid small of creosote when the sun baked the railroad timbers the tickle of coal dust in my throat f'rom the steam engines belching cinders. A town Christmas tree which lit-up the sky with the season fast advancing the slick greased pole on the Fourth of July and the platform built for dancing. The lurch of the coal cars sings in my ear each filled with the deep-vein riches the parting wave of the engineer and the men who controlled the switches. A miners face as black as a pit with the whites of his eyeballs showing his hard-shell hat and his dinner kit and his carbide lantern glowing. The huge gob dump with its guts ablaze, the sulfur smoke of its embers and the host it played in so many ways Ah, how clearly one remembers. The loose-plank bridge where the traffic crossed with a roaring clap of thunder the cavalcade of items tossed in the black-water creek down under. I remember the taste that the water had, and the smell like an egg gone rotten so may things which may sound bad were too good to be forgotten. The company store with no added toll for things which were bought on credit, unique scrip coins with a star-shaped hole such is gone but I can't forget it. The tragic times when a miner died by the perils of his vocation And the cold of grief by which all were tied in this kindred population. My mind walks the path by the tipple site where the steam was always rising and the sudden burst from a venting pipe never fails to be surprising. The big bath house for the miner's use with their clothing hung from the ceiling the clinking chains when they let them loose and the spinning pulleys squealing. The Bird Gang crew and the red dog piles, and the unpaved streets and alleys the song of the trains which was heard for miles cross the "black-gold" hills and valleys. I can nearly count each narrow stair which led to the old theater it was eighteen-cents for the children's fare and the adults paid a few cents greater. The boarding house, the"Y" and the grill miner's belts with the shiny buckles that winter drive on the Widen Hill which could whiten the bravest knuckles. A charcoal film on the day old snow when wintertime came calling the soot-free trees and their fresh green glow with the rains of summer falling. While I'm forty-years gone from all these things, my mind is engraved with the setting like words of a song one repeatedly sings leaving little chance of forgetting. Whether you were there or you share a link to those days of Her blooming glory what your heart may hold or your mind may think might be told as a different story. But of thoughts I hold and visions I see that She's gone seems the only pity and I wouldn't trade one memory to have spent those days in the city.