American Life in Poetry: Column 135
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
What motivates us to keep moving forward through our lives, despite all the effort required to do so? Here, North Carolina poet Ruth Moose attributes human characteristics to an animal to speculate upon what that force might be.
The snail at the edge of the road
inches forward, a trim gray finger
of a fellow in pinstripe suit.
He’s burdened by his house
that has to follow
where he goes. Every inch,
he pulls together
all he is,
all he owns,
all he was given.
The road is wide
but he is called
that knows him
on the other side.
We do not accept unsolicited submissions. 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 © 2004 by Ruth Moose, whose most recent book of poetry is The Sleepwalker, Main Street Rag, 2007. Reprinted from 75 Poems on Retirement, edited by Robin Chapman and Judith Strasser, published by University of Iowa Press, 2007, by permission of the author and publisher. Introduction copyright © 2019 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.