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.
Welcome to American Life in Poetry. For information on permissions and usage, or to download a PDF version of the column, visit http://www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.
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.
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.
The following is an excerpt from my latest Linkedin post. Enjoy~
You don’t have to wait to travel somewhere exotic in order to reap the benefits. You simply can change your perspective to boost creativity and effectiveness.
The trick: adopt a vacation mentality in everyday life. Play tourist in your own backyard.
Traveler Tip 1: Revel in the Details
Traveler Tip 2: Bask in the Excitement of the “New”
Traveler Tip 3: Be Unafraid to Look Silly
Traveler Tip 4: Take Risks and Say Yes
Traveler Tip 5: Slow Down and Enjoy
Read the full article now!
i exist differently. i am
the breath between
breaths, the gap. a golden hue
between day and night, your
pause between no and yes, i am
a living rift.
i see a girl at a crowded deck party.
she says “look, that girl is all alone” and
i am both
proclaimer and vision.
i want to be like so many
rows of seeds planted
over hard long years, who
now in the light of new sun
carefully test a path.
i want to be groomed to grow
tall, like a tomato plant up a rod.
but i am a poet, a seeker.
a dandelion unplanted, unplanned,
so ruinous to fields
but joyous to winds.
clock takes a turn with me about the room,
we are shadows, and lights that flicker and dance from passing cars
drive us slowly mad with desire –
clock and I waltz about the room
tracking light movements
with precision of hunters until, suddenly, each is swallowed
whole by us in the darkness –
clock and I laugh, spinning, the world
outside growing older, each star following the same path set,
a quick flicker before our dark tongues close in with a smirk.
“A moment later my first poem began. What touched it off? I think I know. Without any wind blowing, the sheer weight of a raindrop, shining in parasitic luxury on a cordate leaf, caused its tip to dip, and what looked like a globule of quicksilver performed a sudden glissando down the center vein, and then, having shed its bright load, the relieved leaf unbent. Tip, leaf, dip, relief- the instant it all took to happen seemed to me not so much a fraction of time as a fissure in it, a missed heartbeat, which was refunded at once by a patter of rhymes: I say ‘patter’ intentionally, for when a gust of wind did come, the trees would briskly start to drip all together in as crude an imitation of the recent downpour as the stanza I was already muttering resembled the shock of wonder I had experienced when for a moment heart and leaf had been one.”
~ Vladimir Nabokov “Speak, Memory”
“Everyman’s Library” | Alfred A. Knopf | New York 1999
In this author’s opinion, one of the most beautiful paragraphs ever written to describe that first amazing poetic moment.
you and i
share a secret
much like the duo
playing guitar in the barber shop
everyone else has gone.
read an article today how the great writers lived in miserable raining dark places which forced them to look inward. good thing it rains tonight. maybe some art, somewhere, is safe. as for me, i just don’t know what to write anymore. i walked home in the rain on a Friday night clutching groceries and toilet paper, peering into windows where couples and families were eating together, where two were playing guitar to a freshly brushed floor, and i walked on. my sister – she questioned me – and i said, i may not know much but i do know alone. i do know it. and we, the blank page and i, settle in for a good chat as the moon snakes through the blinds …
(taken from the red journal. 1.11.13)
Filed under writers, writing