Is it possible to make accurate guesses about the people you have never met? Read the poem, to see how conclusions can be drawn about people.
He was a big man, says the size of his shoes On a pile of broken dishes by the house; A tall man too, says the length of the bed In an upstairs room; and a good, God-fearing man, Says the Bible with a broken back On the floor below a window, bright with sun; But not a man for farming, say the fields Cluttered with boulders and a leaky barn.
A woman lived with him, says the bedroom wall Papered with lilacs and the kitchen shelves Covered with oilcloth, and they had a child Says the sandbox made from a tractor tyre. Money was scarce, say the jars of plum preserves And canned tomatoes sealed in the cellar-hole, And the winters cold, say the rags in the window frames. It was lonely here, says the narrow country road.
Something went wrong, says the empty house In the weed-choked yard. Stones in the fields Say he was not a farmer; the still-sealed jars In the cellar say she left in a nervous haste. And the child? Its toys are strewn in the yard Like branches after a storm - a rubber cow, a rusty tractor and a broken plow, a doll in overalls. Something went wrong, they say. Ted Kooser
Summary of the Poem :
This is a poem about an abandoned farmhouse. Taking clues from things in the house and overall condition of the house the poet has tried to guess about its occupants. The big size of shoes and bed makes the poet to think that the house belonged to a big man. The presence of the Bible indicates that the person used to believe in God.
The presence of floral design on the wall paper and that of oil-cloth in the kitchen indicates towards the presence of a woman as well. There are different kinds of toys which indicate that the couple had a child as well. Certain food items indicate towards penury of the family. The overall condition of the farmhouse tells that the man was not a farmer and it was a lonely house. The way things are scattered all around, indicates towards a possibility of some untoward incidents. They might have led to the exodus of the family.