Poet's Corner: The obstinate rancher
June 28, 2010
Commentary by Ted Kooser, US Poet Laureate, 2004-06

I recognize the couple who are introduced in this poem by Patricia Frolander, of Sundance, WY, and perhaps you'll recognize them, too.

Denial

He called it "his ranch,"
yet each winter day found her beside him
feeding hay to hungry cows.

In summer heat
you would find her in the hayfieldó
cutting, raking, baling, stacking.

In between she kept the books,
cooked, cleaned
laundered, fed bum lambs.

Garden rows straight,
canned jars of food
lined cellar walls.

Then she died.
I asked him how he would manage.
"Just like I always have," he said.

"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 ©2009 by Patricia Frolander, and reprinted from her most recent book of poems, Grassland Genealogy (Finishing Line Press, 2009) by permission of Pat Frolander and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2010 by The Poetry Foundation. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

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