Countryside

Those sandy patches on level roads
Are the same

This line really connects with readers because we all know exactly what a country road looks like. It opens the poem with an easygoing, familiar, and homely feel. Rachel Talen, age 21

County after county. The homes
And marginal farms (mostly gone into receivership
Of small animals)…

Interesting that the farms are described as having gone into receivership. Reflects the fact that small town areas and businesses are often hit hardest in poor economic conditions. I love the description of the sandy patches on the road appearing the same county after county, very basic and accurate description. Kyle Austin, age 22
This is the way farms are, isn't it? Hannah Fleming, age 14
I like the way this description can be applied to any small rural town in any area of the country. The universality of it invites the reader to imagine themselves as the speaker/viewer. Kara Madden, age 22

   
      In August
It’s cool nights. Baseball statistics
Take on a certain depth. In small towns

I love the comment about baseball statistics taking on a certain depth during this time of year. It relates again, I feel, to economic worries in a small town. In hard times, people need something to feel good about or be distracted by, and for many that something is baseball. Kyle Austin, age 22
Baseball statistics have much more meaning in this small town. Amy Fleming, age 17
And they add character to this poem. Patricia Schlutt, age 15

The woods begin
Where ball fields end

This is a beautiful way of describing where the field and the woods are located. Leah Niemchick, age 20
It shows the two aspects of the town and the poem in these two lines. Patricia Schlutt, age 15

   
      Just as one
Hits a lift in the pavement
A town appears at the bottom.
At a rounded corner
A building wedges out
Clean and prosperous, a little taller than the others . . .

Excellent profiling of the first sighting of a small town! There is a building just like this in my small hometown of Lowell, visible above all others, the “flag” of the town, if you will. Kyle Austin, age 22

   
      Otherwise woodlots, inns, motels,
Marinas sighted through cattails.
Owners of cottages striding gravel lots
To restaurants imitating Florida –
And sometimes the roads
Remind one of Florida
When they drop low into swale.
Branches
Crowd up and the pavement swivels,
The land swivels.

The line above captures perfectly the undulating feeling one has when riding down country roads, it really does feel like the land is moving around you at times. Kyle Austin, age 22

   
      In the town
The crowd,
A center pulsing about the beer tent,

This is a strong image, which is, like the earlier statement about baseball, both happy and melancholy because it speaks of a good time, but it reminds the reader of the isolation of small towns, where so much excitement is generated over a beer tent at town festival. Kara Madden, age 22
Again, I feel the beer is being portrayed as a tool of release. It medicates the people just as baseball does. I love the way the crowd is described as pulsing, too. It lets the reader know that the people in the small town are full of life. Kyle Austin, age 22

  
To the bank of the estuary . . .

This poem works primarily because of it’s direct and captivating depiction of the geography of small town U.S.A. It gives unique life to the areas of our country which some condemn as static and out-of-touch. Kyle Austin, age 21
Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.