The Unseen, Unpaid Workman

April 20, 2016

Introduction by Ted Kooser: Poetry has often served to remind us to look more closely, to see what may have been at first overlooked. Today’s poem is by Kaelum Poulson of Washington state. A middle school student and already accomplished maker of poems, he writes of the thankless toils of an unlikely but entirely necessary member of our community—the crow!

The Crow

So beautiful
but often unseen
a maid of nature
the street cleaner that’s everywhere
never thanked
never liked
always ignored
so elegant in a way no one sees
but without it we would
be in trash up to our knees
with the heart of a lion
the mind of a fox
the color of the night sky
a crow
the unpaid workman
that helps in every way
each and every day.

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 © by Seattle Arts & Lectures. Reprinted from “The Universal Controversial Hive: poems, stories, & memoirs by students,” Writers in the Schools, 2006, by permission of the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2008 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.

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  1. What a great poem. Amazing the writer was middle school age. So glad you shared friend. Hugs!

  2. I know--so amazing! Thanks for stopping by.