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  • American Life in Poetry: Column 224

    When we’re young, it seems there are endless possibilities for lives we might lead, and then as we grow older and the opportunities get fewer we begin to realize that the life we’ve been given is the only one we’re likely to get.

  • A Fillet on Form

    PREFACE
    As we grow older it may really be
    that form itself begets satiety,
    so here’s an empty plate with nothing onit
    beyond the snack of cooking up a sonnet.

  • How Trees Got Their Leaves

    In the days before the trees had leaves,
    Coyote said, the trees were always cold.
    And so they asked the birds to come and build nests
    in their branches, and the black beetles to come
    to live under their bark, and the red and gray squirrels
    to fill up their empty places.

  • 2 Poems

    No Halo

    Not supposed to write
    poems about angels,
    so my writing teacher says.
    No sunsets, roses, rainbows, doves.

  • 2 Poems

    Breakfast Hunger

    First, instant adrenaline
    voids the normal
    body issues.
    Clearing the scene
    brings on the hunger.

  • American Life in Poetry: Column 222

    Coleman Barks, who lives in Georgia, is not only the English language’s foremost translator of the poems of the 13th century poet, Rumi, but he’s also a loving grandfather, and for me that’s even more important. His poems about his granddaughter, Briny, are brim full of joy.

  • American Life in Poetry: Column 221

    Sometimes, it’s merely the sound of a child’s voice in a nearby room that makes a parent feel immensely lucky. To celebrate Father’s Day, here’s a joyful poem of fatherhood by Todd Boss, who lives in St.

  • Prairie Shelter

    With night slain
                red floods
    the green lean of trees
                disturbing a prairie
    horizontal that makes us hunch
    toward the earth

    what’s wild flowers
            in the random creases
                    beyond us

    brown sparrow dart
                drape of monarchs
    through leaves’ purple underside
    ringed in the cars’ undercurrent
    that tears across a blue stitch

    the road side aches
    serrated edges of maple leaves
    draining green      beneath our tires
    a bird refuses flight

    Gail Lukasik is the author of the recently released Door County mystery novel, Death’s Door.

  • American Life in Poetry: Column 220

    One of the privileges of being U.S. Poet Laureate was to choose two poets each year to receive a $10,000 fellowship, funded by the Witter Bynner Foundation.

  • American Life in Poetry: Column 219

    As we all know, getting older isn’t hard to do. Time continues on. In this poem, Deborah Warren of Massachusetts asks us to think about the life lived between our past and present selves, as indicated in the marginal comments of an old book.

  • American Life in Poetry: Column 218

    American literature is rich with poems about the passage of time, and the inevitability of change, and how these affect us. Here is a poem by Kevin Griffith, who lives in Ohio, in which the years accelerate by their passing.

  • 2 Poems

    3rd Generation Fire

    Grandpa was Chief,
    so was Dad.
    The first firetruck was parked in a bay under their hardware store.

  • American Life in Poetry: Column 217

    American literature is rich with poems about the passage of time, and the inevitability of change, and how these affect us. Here is a poem by Kevin Griffith, who lives in Ohio, in which the years accelerate by their passing.

  • Husbands and Wives

    1. Hannah

    Hanner Hart, Hanner Hart, they all called me.
    The problem with husbands is, they don’t last!
    After Ed died, I was on my own for 45 years,
    And it was hard times for Hanner Hart.

  • American Life in Poetry: Column 216

    Judy Loest lives in Knoxville and, like many fine Appalachian writers, her poems have a welcoming conversational style, rooted in that region’s storytelling tradition. How gracefully she sweeps us into the landscape and the scene!

  • American Life in Poetry: Column 215

    To commemorate Mother’s Day, here’s a lovely poem by David Wojahn of Virginia, remembering his mother after forty years.

    Walking to School, 1964

    Blurring the window, the snowflakes’ numb white lanterns.