American Life in Poetry: Column 333

Here is a lovely poem by Robert Cording, a poet who lives in Connecticut, which shows us a fresh new way of looking at something commonplace. That’s the kind of valuable service a poet can provide.

Old Houses
Year after year after year

I have come to love slowly

how old houses hold themselves –

before November’s drizzled rain

or the refreshing light of June –

as if they have all come to agree

that, in time, the days are no longer

a matter of suffering or rejoicing.

I have come to love

how they take on the color of rain or sun

as they go on keeping their vigil

without need of a sign, awaiting nothing

more than the birds that sing from the eaves,

the seizing cold that sounds the rafters.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2010 by Robert Cording from his most recent book of poetry, Walking with Ruskin, CavanKerry Press, Ltd., 2010. Reprinted by permission of Robert Cording. Introduction copyright © 2011 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.