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American Life in Poetry

A feature provided by Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2004-2006

To celebrate my 75th year, I’ve published a new book of poems, and many of them are about the way in which we come together to help each other through the world. Here’s just one:

 

Two

On a parking lot staircase

I met two fine-looking men

descending, both in slacks

and dress shirts, neckties

much alike, one of the men

in his sixties, the other

a good twenty years older,

unsteady on his polished shoes,

a son and his father, I knew

from their looks, the son with his

right hand on the handrail,

the father, left hand on the left,

and in the middle they were

holding hands, and when I neared,

they opened the simple gate

of their interwoven fingers

to let me pass, then reached out

for each other and continued on.

 

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.

 

Introduction copyright © 2009 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.

 

"If I read a book [and] it makes my whole body so cold no fire ever can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry."
    -- Emily Dickinson


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