The Purpose of Poetry
This old man grazed thirty head of cattle
In a valley just north of the covered bridge
On the Mississinewa, where the reservoir
Stands today. Had a black border collie
And a half-breed sheep dog with one eye.
The dogs took the cows to pasture each morning
And brought them home again at night
And herded them into the barn. The old man
Would slip a wooden bar across both doors.
One dog slept on the front porch, one on the back.
He was waiting there one evening
Listening to the animals coming home
When a man from the courthouse stopped
To tell him how the new reservoir
Was going to flood all his property.
They both knew he was too far up in years
To farm anywhere else. He had a daughter
Who lived in Florida, in a trailer park.
He should sell now and go stay with her.
The man helped bar the doors before he left.
He had only known dirt under his fingernails
And trips to town on Saturday mornings
Since he was a boy. Always he had been around
Cattle, and trees, and land near the river.
Evenings by the barn he could hear the dogs
Talking to each other as they brought in
The herd; and the cows answering them.
It was the clearest thing he knew. That night
He shot both dogs and then himself.
The purpose of poetry is to tell us about life.
Title: The Purpose of Poetry
Author: Jared Carter
I think that when the man from the courthouse came to this man’s house, the man who lived there didn’t know how to live in a different culture because he’s been there for so long and so he thought it’d be best to end it along with his dogs.