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The Colonel

Rating: 3.2

What you have heard is true. I was in his house.
His wife carried a tray of coffee and sugar. His
daughter filed her nails, his son went out for the
night. There were daily papers, pet dogs, a pistol
on the cushion beside him. The moon swung bare on
its black cord over the house. On the television
was a cop show. It was in English. Broken bottles
were embedded in the walls around the house to
scoop the kneecaps from a man's legs or cut his
hands to lace. On the windows there were gratings

like those in liquor stores. We had dinner, rack of
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COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Jan Hauck 13 April 2012

I agree with the powerful message, however, the form is puzzling to me. It is almost prose, almost like a short story or the start of one. I often think that certain boundaries can be beneficial for a poem.

6 3 Reply
Andrew Fincham 25 October 2006

This holds so much power within in, which refuses to be contained. I admire this very much.

7 1 Reply
Carlos R. 14 April 2012

Simply stunning! I could never have possibly imagined this sort of behavior from Col. Harland David Sanders, but there we have it.

6 2 Reply
Carlos R. 14 April 2012

Stunning... I could never possibly have imagined such behavior from Col. Sanders.

5 2 Reply
Padma Devkota 14 April 2012

I find this poem quite similar to Dead Soldiers by James Fenton. Not as powerful, not quite historically located, but with a quiet and unassuming beginning that ends with a grabbing loudness of tone. Decadence attracts like crime and violence on news.

5 2 Reply
S E Ingraham 15 January 2020

I have read this many times and each time it's as if it's the first. Such stark horror told in an everyday way - they're having supper, the Colonel is very matter-of-fact in his complaints and the way he has dinner served before the ears arrive. He is trying to make a point and he does - what a tour de force Forche has managed with this poem. Brilliant in my view. It stays in my mind for days and my heart forever.

0 0 Reply
Susan Williams 02 September 2016

Not my cup of tea... thankfully not my glass of water either

5 0 Reply
Bharati Nayak 02 September 2016

The story may be true, but on the Poem of the Day Page it fills the heart with horror and gloom.

1 0 Reply
Edward Kofi Louis 02 September 2016

He spilled many human ears on the table! This is serious! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

1 0 Reply
* Sunprincess * 04 June 2014

.............a very good start for a short story....now we just need to find out why the main characters are there having dinner with a bad guy.....and why hasn't the police locked this man up.... and thrown away the key....

4 2 Reply