Poetry Review: “A Letter in October” by Ted Kooser

Ted_KooserThe first hard frost of the year arrived in the North Country. Dark cold mornings will be ours now until spring.

Here is poem by Ted Kooser on October mornings.

Enjoy!

A Letter in October

Dawn comes later and later now,
and I, who only a month ago
could sit with coffee every morning
watching the light walk down the hill
to the edge of the pond and place
a doe there, shyly drinking,

 

then see the light step out upon
the water, sowing reflections
to either side—a garden
of trees that grew as if by magic—
now see no more than my face,
mirrored by darkness, pale and odd,

 

startled by time. While I slept,
night in its thick winter jacket
bridled the doe with a twist
of wet leaves and led her away,
then brought its black horse with harness
that creaked like a cricket, and turned

 

the water garden under. I woke,
and at the waiting window found
the curtains open to my open face;
beyond me, darkness. And I,
who only wished to keep looking out,
must now keep looking in.

 

Listening with a pencil and my ear, these are the lines I marked:

I woke,
and at the waiting window found
the curtains open to my open face;
beyond me, darkness. And I,
who only wished to keep looking out,
must now keep looking in.

 

These lines are Kooser at his best: deceptively simple, thought/emotion-provoking, enjoyable.

Kooser’s relative anonymity continues to puzzle me. I suspect it is a geographical/subject issue. Literary tastes continue to be set by those who inhabit the coasts.

I wish there were more poets like Kooser, Certainly the world would be a better place if there were more souls like Ted Kooser’s in it. Now that Seamus Heaney has gone, he is my favorite living poet. He has done more with the small poem than anyone writing today.

 

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