The Purpose of Poetry
This old man grazed thirty head of cattle
In a valley just north of the covered bridge
On the Mississinewa, where the reservoir
Stands today. Had a black border collie
And a half-breed sheep dog with one eye.
The dogs took the cows to pasture each morning
And brought them home again at night
And herded them into the barn. The old man
Would slip a wooden bar across both doors.
One dog slept on the front porch, one on the back.

He was waiting there one evening
Listening to the animals coming home
When a man from the courthouse stopped
To tell him how the new reservoir
Was going to flood all his property.
They both knew he was too far up in years
To farm anywhere else. He had a daughter
Who lived in Florida, in a trailer park.
He should sell now and go stay with her.
The man helped bar the doors before he left.

He had only known dirt under his fingernails
And trips to town on Saturday mornings
Since he was a boy. Always he had been around
Cattle, and trees, and land near the river.
Evenings by the barn he could hear the dogs
Talking to each other as they brought in
The herd; and the cows answering them.
It was the clearest thing he knew. That night
He shot both dogs and then himself.
The purpose of poetry is to tell us about life.

Jared Carter

Title: The Purpose of Poetry.
Author: Jared Carter

He wanted to end where he started. He became comfortable and didn’t want to live anywhere else, because that is all he has ever known. As he locked the barn one last time, it symbolizes how hes locking and closing his past, and how things are coming to an end. I didn’t completely understand why he killed both his dogs also, but I think it might be because he wanted them to go with him. They were his only family, and he just couldn’t let them stay without him. This poem showed us that the purpose of poems are to express emotions and tell us about life.