American Life in Poetry
sponsors
The Poetry Foundation

Library of Congress

University of Nebraska
at Lincoln

Download PDF
Bookmark and Share
American Life in Poetry: Column 417

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

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 (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also 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 Bruce Guernsey 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.

POEM SEARCH


Home
Project Description
Copyrights and Permissions
Current Column
Column Archive
Kooser Bio
Email Sign-Up
Register here to receive American Life in Poetry via weekly email.

Register Today >>


American Life in Poetry © 2014 The Poetry Foundation    Contact: alp@poetryfoundation.org    Privacy Policy    RSS