Ted Kooser: American life in poetry March 24, 2013

Ted Kooser: American life in poetry March 24, 2013

There's an old country-western song with the refrain, "That's what happens when two worlds collide," and in this poem by Bruce Guernsey, who divides his year between Illinois and Maine, we see a near collision between two worlds.

Back Road

Winter mornings

driving past

I'd see these kids

huddled like grouse

in the plowed ruts

in front of their shack

waiting for the bus,

three small children

bunched against the drifts

rising behind them.

This morning

I slowed to wave

and the smallest,

a stick of a kid

draped in a coat,

grinned and raised

his red, raw hand,

the snowball

packed with rock

aimed at my face.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (http://www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It also is supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright 2012 by Bruce Guernsey from his most recent book of poems, "From Rain: Poems, 1970-2010" (Ecco Qua Press, 2012). Poem reprinted by permission of Guernsey and the publisher. Introduction copyright 2013 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 to '06. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

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