Waiting for News From Spring

March 06, 2013

Photo courtesy rnhyppy

When spring finally arrives, it can be fun to see what winter left behind, and Jeffrey Harrison of Massachusetts is doing just that in this amusing poem. [Introduction by Ted Kooser.]

Mailboxes in Late Winter

It’s a motley lot. A few still stand
at attention like sentries at the ends
of their driveways, but more lean
askance as if they’d just received a blow
to the head, and in fact they’ve received
many, all winter, from jets of wet snow
shooting off the curved, tapered blade
of the plow. Some look wobbly, cocked
at oddball angles or slumping forlornly
on precariously listing posts. One box
bows steeply forward, as if in disgrace, its door
lolling sideways, unhinged. Others are dented,
battered, streaked with rust, bandaged in duct tape,
crisscrossed with clothesline or bungee cords.
A few lie abashed in remnants of the very snow
that knocked them from their perches.
Another is wedged in the crook of a tree
like a birdhouse, its post shattered nearby.
I almost feel sorry for them, worn out
by the long winter, off-kilter, not knowing
what hit them, trying to hold themselves
together, as they wait for news from spring.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2012 by Jeffrey Harrison, whose most recent book of poems is Incomplete Knowledge, Four Way Books, 2006. Poem reprinted from Southwest Review, Vol. 97, no. 1, 2012, by permission of Jeffrey Harrison and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2013 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.

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  1. Lol, no truer words have ever been written about mailboxes beaten up by snowplows. Early in the season, we get an inexperienced driver who not only does in mailboxes, but also the green telephone boxes too.

    This was great! It snowed here again yesterday, we got around 3", but spring is on its way.

    Hope that you are having a nice warm week, Kathy.

    Kathy M.

  2. Kathy--Not that I know anything about snowplows, having lived my whole life in non-snowy places!

    Actually, we're having a nice cool week--which is wonderful because we've had way too much heat and humidity this winter. Of course, cool for us is 40s-70s--perfect!