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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a burning sky dies over me,
sighs over me, extinguishes
like a lit match
blown softly unconscious.
fingers flaming pass out
into wispy smoke, clouds that once burned
hot slowly rust,
i watch them turn pyroclastic dark,
they turn against me –
an encroaching cloak of emptiness. i watch this death
a hungry voyeur. i listen though
nothing, nothing remains
save a sliver of a moon croaking awake, and black silhouettes
of trees and city rowhome skeletons whispering,
you always leave, you always do
but the gold is worth it for one brief hour,
that one small time our eyes got big
and drank colors possible only in dreams.
Been traveling recently so that explains (but doesn’t excuse) the lack of poetry. Here’s one I’d like to feature again, since the warming weather has me all excited and twisted up in thoughts of summer beach trips….
Coming Home from the Beach Impossible
white lights on the
Charlie Brown tree
at the woman puttering,
spatula in hand,
she takes out the last tray of cookies
have yourself a merry little
and the dishes
outside he blames
cold snowy weather
clinging to evergreens,
white fingers so close,
those white hands
struggling to find a way,
gentle soft falling down
to rest on frozen ground
outside he waits
waits till seasons change
yet evergreens persist
they make him angry
those ghost white hands,
pine needles, red bleeding,
spring leading summer
but evergreens remember
wishes time away
his beard grows long
he sings by heart the song
of pines rustling in the wind
outside he sits
buttoned for another
a long hibernation
like a gnarled old bear
his New Year knows all
none can change this
only steadfast everygreens–
they never let him sleep.
[author note: circa the “degas ‘three dancers’ journal 2003” – an admitted total break from my usual style]
All winter, I was curled tight in my bed
so that my legs had become part of my torso
and my arms wrapped around the whole bundle
as to let nothing out,
In the early equinox morning,
the sun rose up over the row-homes that
stretched into a scraped horizon.
I could see it with one half-shut eye,
through one slice of blinds but I did
not move from my bulb.
Soon, soon, the glow blinded
it pierced into my drowsy eyelids and ever so gently
peeled away my fingers, prodded my arms out, then,
carefully pushed my legs straight.
I stretched across the sheets.
I stood gently, unaware.
The sun enveloped the whole of the city and room.
I was unsure of my steps,
but I stretched up and
drank in the light…blooming.
future sunny days
now as the season of rain,
the never-ending crying of the sky,
the flooding of the streets,
the swallowing of beach, bank, body
now as the time of disbelief
the desperate want and need for things
we just can’t have
the feel of warm
the feel of orange melting into the
sultry velvet summer night
the feel of skin tingling tan
instead of white
now as the overwhelming overtaking green
lawns like jungles where kids would swing
if the rains would end
but the windows now are streaked
still dripping wet and slippery
so hoping to end the