December 31, 2006|By Ted Kooser | Ted Kooser,Special to the Sun

How many of us, when passing through some small town, have felt that it seemed familiar though we've never been there before? And of course it seems familiar, because much of the course of life is pretty much the same wherever we go, right down to the up-and-down fortunes of the football team and the unanswered love letters. Here's a poem by Mark Vinz.

-- Ted Kooser

"Driving Through"

This could be the town you're from,

marked only by what it's near.

The gas station man speaks of weather

and the high school football team

just as you knew he would --

kind to strangers, happy to live here.

Tell yourself it doesn't matter now,

you're only driving through.

Past the sagging, empty porches

locked up tight to travelers' stares,

toward the great dark of the fields,

your headlights startle a flock of

old love letters -- still undelivered,

enroute for years.

Ted Kooser was U.S. poet laureate, 2004-06. Copyright 1977 by Mark Vinz. Reprinted from "Red River Blues," published by College of the Mainland, Texas City, Texas, 1977, by permission of the author.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.