American Life in Poetry: Column 437
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
To capture an object in words is a difficult chore, but when it’s done exceptionally well, as in this poem by A. E. Stallings, I’d rather read the description than see the object itself. A. E. Stallings is an American poet living in Greece.
The Pull Toy
You squeezed its leash in your fist,
It followed where you led:
Tick, tock, tick, tock,
Nodding its wooden head.
Wagging a tail on a spring,
Its wheels gearing lackety-clack,
Dogging your heels the length of the house,
Though you seldom glanced back.
It didn’t mind being dragged
When it toppled on its side
Scraping its coat of primary colors:
Love has no pride.
But now that you run and climb
And leap, it has no hope
Of keeping up, so it sits, hunched
At the end of its short rope
And dreams of a rummage sale
Where it’s snapped up for a song,
And of somebody—somebody just like you—
Stringing it along.
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 ©2012 by A. E. Stallings, whose most recent book of poems is Olives, Northwestern University Press, 2012. Poem reprinted from Five Points, Vol. 14, no. 3, by permission of A. E. Stallings and the 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.