Japanese-American Farmhouse, California, 1942

Everything has been taken that anyone
thought worth taking. The stairs are tilted,
scattered with sycamore leaves curled
like ammonites in inland rock.
Wood shows through the paint on the frame
and the door is open--an empty room,
sunlight on the floor. All that is left
on the porch is the hollow cylinder
of an Albert's Quick Oats cardboard box
and a sewing machine. Its extraterrestrial
head is bowed, its scrolled neck
glistens. I was born, that day, near there,
in wartime, of ignorant people.

by Sharon Olds

Other poems of OLDS (34)

Comments (4)

Well for the most part those so-called ignorant people put their lives on the line in WW II to preserve freedom. A lot of them died in the process. But every one of them are a damn site better than the generation that followed (of which I am a part) which has run the free world into the ground. No they weren't perfect and those that are should condemn them and nobody else.
So much can be learned about the poet (poetess) from his or her poetry. You and I have much in common, Sharon. I was born not too many weeks before you were. I love every poem of yours that I have read so far.
Have to agree with Rita's comment. Made me feel as if I was secretly getting a glimpse of a place I was not supposed to be. A compelling write!
What the eye describes in images - becomes the resulting revelation. I feel as though I have intruded on someone else's property and witnessed something that I was not invited to see. So compelling!