The last line echoes a nursery rhyme ("Sing, sing, what shall I sing?/ The cat's run away with the pudding-string …"). That closing, along with moments like "He tossed his pipes, too hard to teach/ A new-world song, far out of reach," leads me to hear the poem as wondering how to make poems for the modern world (or the American world?)—with an implicit vow to try.
Like Slate on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Slate Poetry Editor Robert Pinsky will be joining in discussion of "Mowing" and "Pan With Us" this week. Post your questions and comments on the poems, and he'll respond and participate. You can also browse "Fray" discussions of previous classic poems.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Self-Made Man
The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.
Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke
Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?
The First Case of Ebola in America Has Been Diagnosed in Dallas
Why Indians in America Are Mad for India’s New Prime Minister
Now Stare. Don’t Stop.
The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.
You Deserve a Pre-cation
The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.