Our Neighbor: | Ted Kooser

One of the wonders of poetry is a good poet’s ability to compress a great deal of life into a few words.

One of the wonders of poetry is a good poet’s ability to compress a great deal of life into a few words. Here’s a life story told small, by Ivan Hobson.

Our Neighbor:

 

Every family that lived in our court

had an American truck

with a union sticker on the back

and as a kid I admired them

the way I thought our soldiers

must have admired Patton

and Sherman tanks.

You once told me

that the Russians couldn’t take us,

not with towns like ours

full of iron, full of workers tempered

by the fires of foundries and mills.

It wasn’t the Russians that came;

it was the contract, the strike,

the rounds of layoffs that blistered

until your number was called.

I still remember you loading up

to leave for the last time,

the union sticker scraped off

with a putty knife,

the end of the white tarp draped

over your truck bed

flapping as you drove away.

 

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright © 2013 by Ivan Hobson. Poem reprinted from Plainsongs, Vol. XXXIII, No. 3, Spring 2013, by permission of Ivan Hobson and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2014 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

More in Life

East Pierce hosting annual open house Sept. 29

Don’t miss out on the free, family fun activities and demonstrations, like tearing a car apart with the jaws of life.

Fun run will benefit animal rescue group

Grab your furry friend’s leash and head out to Lake Wilderness Park on Sept. 29.

Some days, it’s good to feel needed

Some days, you just need a hug. Other days, you only want… Continue reading

Local Scout earns his wings

Kyle Ross Dunning is a member of Boy Scout Troop 422.

Beautify Enumclaw, Buckley | Slideshow

Many public spaces, like Enumclaw’s community garden by the library and Veterans Memorial Park, or Buckley’s Youth Center, were given makeovers by scored of energetic volunteers.

Answers may be hard to come

You’re on the edge of your chair. Curiosity is almost killing you;… Continue reading

Buckley-Enumclaw grads celebrate 65 years

The last class received their diplomas in 1953.

If you love thrillers, you’ll want to dive into ‘Desolation Mountain’

The dream is one you’ll never forget. It’s dark, and scary, and… Continue reading

Western artist featured at gallery

Lynn Kopelke’s work will be on display at the City Hall gallery from Sept. 7 through Oct. 2.

Seven suggestions to start the school year green

Since according to research, our brains can most easily remember seven pieces of information at a time, here are seven practices for a more sustainable planet to start out your school year.

Caregivers can identify with “Happy Tears” | Pierce County

“Happy Tears” is the story of two sisters who lead very different lives and return home to care for their aging father.

World-wide myths, legends meet teen-friendly narrative

Your favorite superhero was 10 feet tall. Larger than life. Super-sized, right… Continue reading