Monday, July 2, 2012

So This is Nebraska -- Ted Kooser

The gravel road rides with a slow gallop
over the fields, the telephone lines
streaming behind, its billow of dust
full of the sparks of redwing blackbirds.

On either side, those dear old ladies,
the loosening barns, their little windows
dulled by cataracts of hay and cobwebs
hide broken tractors under their skirts.

So this is Nebraska. A Sunday
afternoon; July. Driving along
with your hand out squeezing the air,
a meadowlark waiting on every post.

Behind a shelterbelt of cedars,
top-deep in hollyhocks, pollen and bees,
a pickup kicks its fenders off
and settles back to read the clouds.

You feel like that; you feel like letting
your tires go flat, like letting the mice
build a nest in your muffler, like being
no more than a truck in the weeds,

clucking with chickens or sticky with honey
or holding a skinny old man in your lap
while he watches the road, waiting
for someone to wave to. You feel like

waving. You feel like stopping the car
and dancing around on the road. You wave
instead and leave your hand out gliding
larklike over the wheat, over the houses.


This is an earlier Kooser poem, and I sure can tell. His later work is more sparse, modern, a focus on simple images and direct phrases, never a whole line devoted to a thick simile or metaphor. I don't feel as easily set down into this piece as work from, say, Delights and Shadows. But still, a good poem for a hot summer in the Plains. 

5 comments:

ngillard said...

I can feel Nebraska in this poem as I sit here in the coolness of eastern Washington today. Thanks for posting.

Diana of Elephants Eye said...

settles back to read the clouds - is a gentle and gracious way to describe a truck left to rust and die.

Mary gray said...

Terrific. Thanks for sharing!

Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

feels like the midwest where I grew up..wonderful images

Desert Dweller said...

I know nothing about poetry, meter, or the like. But I appreciate the imagery...especially after going and returning from my business trip down the freeway across 250 miles of desert. I like the scenes that poem notes, and I can literally smell your place...so different and enjoyable.