Lake County News | California

Monday
Jul 06th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Home Arts & Life Entertainment

Entertainment

American Life in Poetry: Developing the Land

American Life in Poetry: Developing the Land


 


Those of us who live in the country equate the word “development” with displacement, and it has often been said that subdivisions are named for what they replace, like Woodland Glade. Here’s a writer from my state, Nebraska, Stephen Behrendt, with a poem about what some call progress.



Developing the Land


For six nights now the cries have sounded in the pasture:

coyote voices fluting across the greening rise to the east

where the deer have almost ceased to pass

now that the developers have carved up yet another section,

filled another space with spars and studs, concrete, runoff.


Five years ago you saw two spotted fawns rise

for the first time from brome where brick mailboxes will stand;

only three years past came great horned owls

who raised two squeaking, downy owlets

that perished in the traffic, skimming too low across the road

behind some swift, more fortunate cottontail.


It was on an August afternoon that you drove in,

curling down our long gravel drive past pasture and creek,

that you saw, flickering at the edge of your sight,

three mounted Indians, motionless in the paused breeze,

who vanished when you turned your head.


We have felt the presence on this land of others,

of some who paused here, some who passed, who have left

in the thick clay shards and splinters of themselves that we dig up,

turn up with spade and tine when we garden or bury our animals;

their voices whisper on moonless nights in the back pasture hollow

where the horses snort and nicker, wary with alarm.



Ted Kooser was US Poet Laureate from 2004 to 2006. He is a professor in the English Department of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He lives on an acreage near the village of Garland, Nebraska, with his wife Kathleen Rutledge, the editor of the Lincoln Journal Star.


American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2005 by Stephen C. Behrendt from his most recent book of poetry, History, Mid-List Press, 2005. Reprinted by permission of Stephen C. Behrendt and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2010 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.


American Life in Poetry ©2006 The Poetry Foundation

Contact: [email protected].

This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 28 November 2010 16:40 )

 

Clear Lake High hosts Christmas musical Dec. 10-12

LAKEPORT, Calif. – Clear Lake High School will hold its annual Christmas musical this month.


Performances will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10; 7 p.m. Saturday, De...

Last Updated ( Sunday, 28 November 2010 14:54 )

Dance to the LC Diamonds at Winterfest on Dec. 11

LAKEPORT, Calif. – Celebrate the holiday season with an exciting night of dancing to the fabulous classic rock sound of the Lake County Diamonds at the Bayberry Inc...

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 23 November 2010 12:33 )

REGIONAL: Ring in holiday cheer with a free Big Band Gospel concert Dec. 5

ST. HELENA, Calif. – St. Helena Hospital invites the community of all ages to celebrate the holidays on Sunday, Dec. 5, when Ralph Carmichael, one of the music indu...

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 23 November 2010 12:15 )

Two Mikes perform at Blue Wing Nov. 29

 Two Mikes perform at Blue Wing Nov. 29






UPPER LAKE, Calif. – Locals Mike Wilhelm and Hired Guns welcome their very special guest, fiery blues guitarist Mighty Mike Schermer at the Blue Wing on Monday, Nov...

Last Updated ( Monday, 22 November 2010 18:14 )

Page 164 of 279