Early October Snow by Robert Haight

Enjoy Robert’s gorgeous poem of that first snow in October, the harbinger of what’s to come…. Taken from Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry.

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American Life in Poetry: Column 498
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Here’s a lovely poem for this lovely month, by Robert Haight, who lives in Michigan.

Early October Snow

It will not stay.
But this morning we wake to pale muslin
stretched across the grass.
The pumpkins, still in the fields, are planets
shrouded by clouds.
The Weber wears a dunce cap
and sits in the corner by the garage
where asters wrap scarves
around their necks to warm their blooms.
The leaves, still soldered to their branches
by a frozen drop of dew, splash
apple and pear paint along the roadsides.
It seems we have glanced out a window
into the near future, mid-December, say,
the black and white photo of winter
carefully laid over the present autumn,
like a morning we pause at the mirror
inspecting the single strand of hair
that overnight has turned to snow.

 

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2013 by Robert Haight from his most recent book of poems, Feeding Wild Birds, Mayapple Press, 2013. (Lines two and six are variations of lines by Herb Scott and John Woods.) Poem reprinted by permission of Robert Haight and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2014 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

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American Life in Poetry provides newspapers and online publications with a free weekly column featuring contemporary American poems. The sole mission of this project is to promote poetry: American Life in Poetry seeks to create a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. There are no costs for reprinting the columns; we do require that you register your publication here and that the text of the column be reproduced without alteration.

Lemon

Lemon in my hand has such soft waxen rind,
the smell is citrus, light, acidic, clean.

I am now 8 years old in a world of sand, sucking lemon juice
through a peppermint stick, a grandparent’s treat.

Then, I am Positano, a lemon of such giant size, and my family
together watches rain wash candied terra cotta roofs clean.

Once more, I’m at lunch in a blue room with my great aunt
squeezing a distracted, thin slice into a diet coke.

Always, a small bit of juice finds a crack in the skin and stings.
Tomorrow, we’ll roll the pulp in sugar and have a sweet lick.

glass shower door

a face
in a mirror
is a naked stranger
washing hair

slowly, slowly,
a mist creeps higher over
a glass door
it swallows up naked legs,
belly,
soapy strands,

clouds over blue eyes
like an evening storm gathering all summer day
clouds over
skin almost remembering how to be skin

[was it me? were we ever even there?]

stranger gone,
water washes soap
contentedly
into a drain

Age 92

Age 92

92 and you
Bruise so fast, when catching
Your wife who
Dizzy and falling, desperately needed you.
And you were there.

You were there
During world wars,
During depression,
During the birth of two boys and one daughter,
Then seven grandchildren, now six, the
Loss imprinted
On the lines of your face.

This week is 92,
But you say, 38 ½ years have gone by
In a joke that is at least
Twice my age.

written by an old woman

around me in a stillness, a lonlieness
composed of slow shadows and lights
this old house takes its rest with a creak
echoing down the hall to my musty bedroom
shared by only one, the creaks reminding me
of how my knees used to climb stairs
and how these bedsprings used to jump when
he was alive and how the kids used
to clatter and creak through the kitchen
how the years turn like a watch rusting

click click creak

how memories torture me daily but at night they
meekly creak a complaint before I tie them up
and flush them with the efficiency of a proud soldier.

From American Life in Poetry: Two Gates

Thank you to American Life in Poetry for allowing me to republish today’s column. I just loved the quiet, poignant simplicity of this poem. Really resonated with me….

American Life in Poetry: Column 350
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006
The persons we are when we are young are probably buried somewhere within us when we’ve grown old. Denise Low, who was the Kansas poet laureate, takes a look at a younger version of herself in this telling poem.

Two Gates
I look through glass and see a young woman
of twenty, washing dishes, and the window
turns into a painting. She is myself thirty years ago.
She holds the same blue bowls and brass teapot
I still own. I see her outline against lamplight;
she knows only her side of the pane. The porch
where I stand is empty. Sunlight fades. I hear
water run in the sink as she lowers her head,
blind to the future. She does not imagine I exist.
I step forward for a better look and she dissolves
into lumber and paint. A gate I passed through
to the next life loses shape. Once more I stand
squared into the present, among maple trees
and scissor-tailed birds, in a garden, almost
a mother to that faint, distant woman.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Poem copyright ©2010 by Denise Low, from her most recent book of poetry, Ghost Stories of the New West, Woodley Memorial Press, 2010. Poem reprinted by permission of Denise Low and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2011 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

American Life in Poetry ©2006 The Poetry Foundation
Contact: alp@poetryfoundation.org
This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.