From My Commonplace Book - 48

Three Poems

by Ted Kooser


In its stall stands the 19th century,
its hide a hot shudder of satin,
head stony and willful,
an eye brown as a river and watchful:
a sentry a long way ahead
of a hard, dirty army of hooves.

A Winter Morning

A farmhouse window far back from the highway
speaks to the darkness in a small, sure voice.
Against this stillness, only a kettles whisper,
and against the starry cold, one small blue ring of flame.

A Happy Birthday

This evening, I sat by an open window
and read till the light was gone and the book
was no more than a part of the darkness.
I could easily have switched on a lamp,
but I wanted to ride this day down into night,
to sit alone and smooth the unreadable page
with the pale gray ghost of my hand.

Before his retirement, Ted Kooser (American, born 1939) worked as an insurance company executive. In 2004 he began serving the first of two terms as Poet Laureate and in 2005 won a Pulitzer Prize for Darkness and Shadows, a collection that includes the three poems above.


Lovely poetry Merry and appreciate L'engle's humour too. No time sadly to watch shadows now as wrapping Christmas presents (I started in August !) so much looking forward to contemplation and the happy quiet in "shadows" again. Like Winnie the Pooh -
How wonderful it is to do nothing
And then have a rest afterwards
And plenty more days the same.

Much enjoying your poetry finds.
L'engle, your critique of "eerie" gave me pause. Could be. I was thinking, though, "contemplative." Yes, please put the kettle on, set out three cups, and you and Enid and I will discuss this.

Thanks, L'engle.
Enid, I smiled when I read that you started wrapping gifts in August -- then remembered why the task is taking so long. The holidays can be such a struggle. Yes, I hope you can return to happy quiet and rest soon. Thanks for the quote from Winnie the Pooh: doing nothing and rest afterwards.
Sure! Eerie isn't a bad thing for me, by the way. Thanks both for your replies, and enjoy the tea. :)
So can we all enjoy a cuo of tea - a bit of moss garden - a bit of autumn east coast US - lovely !

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