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American Life in Poetry

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

I love poems with sudden surprises, and here’s one by Jennifer Gray, a Nebraskan. Will you ever see depressions puddled with rain without thinking of the image at her conclusion?
 

Horses

The neighbor’s horses idle

under the roof

of their three-sided shelter,

looking out at the rain.

 

Sometimes

one or another

will fade into the shadows

in the corner, maybe

to eat, or drink.

 

Still, the others stand,

blowing out their warm

breaths. Rain rattles

on the metal roof.

 

Their hoof prints

in the corral

open gray eyes to the sky,

and wink each time

another drop falls in.

 

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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