Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Fog 24° Fog
News >  Features

American life in poetry

Ted Kooser U.S. Poet Laureate

Emily Dickinson said that poems come at the truth at a slant. Here a birdbath and some overturned chairs on a nursing home lawn suggest the frailties of old age.

Masterful poems choose the very best words and put them in the very best places, and Michigan poet Rodney Torreson has deftly chosen “ministers” for his first verb – an active one that suggests the good work of the nursing home’s chaplain.

The Bethlehem Nursing Home

A birdbath ministers

to the lawn chairs,

all toppled: a recliner

on its face, metal arms

trying to push it up;

an overturned rocker,

curvature of the spine.

Armchairs on their sides,

webbing unraveled.

One faces the flowers.

A director’s chair

folded, as if prepared

to be taken up.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.