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

Bonney Lake High School graduation 2018 | Slideshow

Check out the Panthers in their cap and gowns getting ready for life’s next challenges.

Enumclaw Health and Rehab offers free nursing training

The next round of classes starts Monday, June 26, and runs through July 24.

Beer Walk coming Saturday to downtown Enumclaw

Tickets sold out at the last event in an hour, so get yours soon.

This book, like change, is a good thing

Change, they say, is good. It’s the opportunity for growth. It’s a… Continue reading

Spartans rock the cap and gown | Slideshow

Check out some photos from last Friday’s Sumner High School graduation.

Don’t miss out on the summer reading kickoff event on June 27.

Summer is almost here! Parents: What are you going to do to… Continue reading

Holy Family Cemetery gets facelift

New leadership helped complete cemetery cleaning project and add new features.

Enumclaw couple reach marriage milestone of 75 years

Fred and Jean Gramann have been married since 1943

Most Read