The tone of the poem "Abandoned Farmhouse" by Ted Kooser is one of a forlorn and lonely sentiment. Tone in poetry is how the poet portrays his attitude about the subject in the poem. The style, word choice and details of the poem work together to create the tone.
As Kooser chronicles the details of this abandoned home, readers receive a picture of its inhabitants and the challenges they faced. The tone develops through the details of the poem: weeds in the yard, boulders in the fields, preserves in the cellar and broken toys sprawled across the lawn. Readers learn the character of the forlorn farmer and his lonely wife. The lonely, forlorn tone lets readers know that even the preserves, which could be seen as positive, are a negative detail because they show that the wife left them in a hurry (regardless of how she exited). Kooser unravels the mystery of the inhabitants and what potentially happened through these details. As a poet who writes mostly about the Midwest's beauty, but also its rough edges, he knows the history of loneliness and heartbreak that often awaited pioneers on the plains of Nebraska. "Abandoned Farmhouse" captures the despair and failure that haunted many who tried to carve out a life on the plains.