Abandoned Farmhouse by Ted Kooser

He was a big man, says the size of his shoes
on a pile of broken dishes by the house;
a tall man too, says the length of the bed
in an upstairs room; and a good, God-fearing man,
says the Bible with a broken back
on the floor below the window, dusty with sun;
but not a man for farming, say the fields
cluttered with boulders and the leaky barn.

A woman lived with him, says the bedroom wall
papered with lilacs and the kitchen shelves
covered with oilcloth, and they had a child,
says the sandbox made from a tractor tire.
Money was scarce, say the jars of plum preserves
and canned tomatoes sealed in the cellar hole.
And the winters cold, say the rags in the window frames.
It was lonely here, says the narrow country road.

Something went wrong, says the empty house
in the weed-choked yard. Stones in the fields
say he was not a farmer; the still-sealed jars
in the cellar say she left in a nervous haste.
And the child? Its toys are strewn in the yard
like branches after a storm-a rubber cow,
a rusty tractor with a broken plow,
a doll in overalls. Something went wrong, they say.

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12 Comments

Filed under Poetry

12 responses to “Abandoned Farmhouse by Ted Kooser

  1. i agree that this one is one of the amazing poems..we’re now studying about it and our teacher asked us to predict what happened to the family…i like this one because i’m really fond of literature with mystery as it’s genre…mysterious aspects make my imagination work wild….and this one is one example….i hope i could also make a poem like this

  2. smiley mittal

    i just love this poem

  3. wow!!!its a lovely poem….
    i just love it,it adds the eagerness hidden in a reader to know what reaaly happened….its marvellous….
    thank you TED KOOSER for giving us such a beautiful poem….

  4. aaron numbah too

    I like this poem it so good its vry makes me hapyy

  5. gerry

    i have a prodject in the 8th grade class of this poem

  6. Hannah Bateman

    Ted Kooser’s poem Abandoned Farmhouse appeals to the reader’s curiosity with its simple words and clues holding the reader from start to finish. A poem one can read and enjoy many times.

  7. vanshita

    I love this poem as i hve studied this poem in class 9th…..it is the bst poem i hve ever read!!!!!

  8. OP: I might be daff (lord knows I have been told lol) but that made totally no sense what so ever…

  9. CeCe

    I use this poem every year in my Language Arts class because it’s a good example of showing the reader–not just telling. Ted Kooser is one of my favorite poets.

  10. Christopher

    I love this poem. It is one of my favorites. The way he has the clues tell us things and how they fail to give us the full story. I am glad others like it as well.

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