So This Is Nebraska

I heard Ted Kooser, the current U.S. poet laureate read this poem on the radio the other day. You can listen to the whole interview here.

So This Is Nebraska

The gravel road rides with a slow gallop
over the fields, the telephone lines
streaming behind, its billow of dust
full of the sparks of redwing blackbirds.

On either side, those dear old ladies,
the loosening barns, their little windows
dulled by cataracts of hay and cobwebs
hide broken tractors under their skirts.

So this is Nebraska. A Sunday
afternoon; July. Driving along
with your hand out squeezing the air,
a meadowlark waiting on every post.

Behind a shelterbelt of cedars,
top-deep in hollyhocks, pollen and bees,
a pickup kicks its fenders off
and settles back to read the clouds.

You feel like that; you feel like letting
your tires go flat, like letting the mice
build a nest in your muffler, like being
no more than a truck in the weeds,

clucking with chickens or sticky with honey
or holding a skinny old man in your lap
while he watches the road, waiting
for someone to wave to. You feel like

waving. You feel like stopping the car
and dancing around on the road. You wave
instead and leave your hand out gliding
larklike over the wheat, over the houses.

3 thoughts on “So This Is Nebraska”

  1. been meaning to tell you that I read this poem when you emailed it.
    Yes, it’s great. kinda makes you want to search through all his stuff … I’m only sure we’ll realize how much GREATNESS is out there and we’re missing it, missing it. we don’t have time or connections to keep up on so many poets. what will we do then?

    anyway, thanks for finding this one for now!


  2. A beautiful poem, lots of great imagery. It’s clear the poet is a real nature lover. He reminds me of Robert Frost. If you enjoy poems with this kind of theme, B, you should check him out. “Birches” is one of my all-time favorite poems.

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