Friday, June 06, 2008

Baron Wormser

Farmhouses, Iowa

Invariably, a family in each one
And someone opening the fridge to fetch
A carton of milk, someone sitting in
A chair and shelling peas, someone looking

Out a window at a barn, two willow trees.
Solitude broods like a pursuing shadow;
A radio fades in and out -the voice
Eager yet eerie. Three ages anchor

The oaken dinner table: Mom and Dad
Up-before-dawn weary, Grandma perturbed
About half-thawed rolls, the children recounting
School stories, then silent. In the parlor
A whiskey tumbler rests beside a Bible.
The old collie whimpers when a car goes by.

"Farmhouses, Iowa" by Baron Wormser, from Scattered Chapters. © Sarabande Books, 2008. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

On Friday, June 6, 2008, Garrison Keillor read this poem on his daily five-minute radio show called "The Writer's Almanac." I set http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/ as my homepage. I enjoy finding new poems and poets here although I think sometimes Garrison picks a dud. For me, this poem by Baron Wormser is a swing and a miss. The description here of the people in Iowa I would expect of someone who has never been to Iowa. If I was talking to the speaker of this poem I wouldn't be surprised to hear him/her say, "Some of my best friends are from Iowa." It's a bit tiresome, and certainly not interesting to me.



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