The Truck

Stone, John

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Woodcock, John
  • Date of entry: Jun-25-2004


A truck bearing the sign: PROGRESS CASKETS -ARTHUR ILLINOIS is the occasion for the folksy speaker of this six- stanza poem to make some humorous reflections on boosterish attitudes towards death. "A casket / may be progress up in Arthur / but it's thought of / down here / as a setback."


This poem is delightfully talky and arch in a country way. In the medical humanities classroom, it could be used, like many of John Stone's wonderfully accessible poems, to break the ice for the study of poetry. More thematically, light as it is, it could introduce a serious discussion of the possibility of varying points of view at the scene of any death.


Also in the journal, Literature and Medicine, vol. 3 (1985), p. 127 and in Stone's collection, Music from Apartment 8: New and Selected Poems (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 2004)

Primary Source

In All This Rain


Louisiana State Univ. Press

Place Published

Baton Rouge