By describing the relocation of the moles which ravaged her yard, Washington poet Judith Kitchen presents an experience that resonates beyond the simple details, and suggests that children can learn important lessons through observation of the natural world.
Catching the Moles
First we tamp down the ridges
that criss-cross the yard
then wait for the ground
to move again.
I hold the shoe box,
you, the trowel.
When I give you the signal
you dig in behind
and flip forward.
Out he pops into daylight,
We nudge him into the box,
carry him down the hill.
Four times we've done it.
The children worry.
Have we let them all go
at the very same spot?
Will they find each other?
We can't be sure ourselves,
only just beginning to learn
the fragile rules of uprooting.
Poem copyright (c) 1986 by Judith Kitchen, whose most recent book is the novel, "The House on Eccles Road," Graywolf Press, 2004. Reprinted from "Perennials," Anhinga Press, 1986, with permission of the author. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.
Also at Virtual Grub Street by/about Ted Kooser:
- The Ted Kooser Page: Links to online Interviews, Recordings, Poetry, Prose, Reviews, Photos and more;
- Ted Kooser and the American Life in Poetry column;
- American Life in Poetry #86: Linda Pastan;
- American Life in Poetry #81: Tess Gallagher;
- American Life in Poetry #70: Sharon Olds;
- American Life in Poetry #68: Wendell Berry;
- American Life in Poetry #51: Jim Harrison;
- American Life in Poetry #30: Naomi Shihab Nye;
- American Life in Poetry #26: Claudia Emerson;
- American Life in Poetry #11: David Wagoner;
- More from American Life in Poetry >>>
Also of Interest:
- Call for Submissions Page: A regularly updated listing of competitions and calls for submission of poetry, prose, freelance journalism, visual arts, academic/professional papers and more.