Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Wednesday Poetry Break

From today's edition of The Writer's Almanac from American Public radio. I'm not familiar with this poet, but I love this poem. It reminds me a great deal of my own father, who always preferred the “blue highways” — and still does, even though he's no longer the driver ....

Pushing Back

Dad always took us
to see educational things—
dams, glass factories, paper mills,
the Smithsonian.
He would stop the car
and walk into a field
to ask a farmer
what he was planting
or have one of us
jump out and read
a historical marker out loud.
We went two hundred miles
out of our way one time
to take a guided tour
of America's largest
open pit copper mine,
and I remember
nothing about it.

But I remember the town
where the miners lived,
those grayish wooden houses
pushing back
against the mountain.
Stairs to the roofed porches sagged;
here and there, a gutter
flopped in the wind.

A girl about my age
rode a tricycle
on the sidewalk,
pedaling barefoot
with her head down,
singing as she watched
her thin legs pump
and the concrete go by.

The car windows were open,
and our eyes teared up
from the dust in the air.
My father drove slowly
and said nothing.

— David Lee Garrison

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