Sunday, July 04, 2010

Your Sunday Postcard

When poet Ted Kooser was recovering from surgery and radiation for cancer, he began walking before dawn each morning to help get his strength back.  During his illness, he had all but given up on writing, but found that during his morning walks, bits and snatches of poems started coming to him.  He began writing the poems down on postcards that he sent to a good friend.  They were a variation of the "correspondence in haiku" the two had been engaged in. The post-card poems are from his book, "Winter Morning Walks: one hundred postcards to Jim Harrison." (2000, Carnegie Mellon University Press)

This lovely book is wonderful to dip into, like a box of Godiva chocolates, to get just one . . . maybe two . . . beautiful pieces to slowly savor.  All of Kooser's books are like that.  I recommend you get a few and try it for yourself.

December 24 / Sunny and clear

Sometimes, when things are going well,
the daredevil squirrel of worry
suddenly leaps from the back of my head
to the feeder, swings by his paws
and clambers up, twitching his question mark tail.
And though I try the recommended baffles --
tin cone of meditation, greased pipe
of positive thought -- every sunflower seed
in this life is his if he wants it.


Anne R. Allen said...

Brilliant. Anxiety in a nutshell. (A little more squirrel humor there.)

M said...

Okay. I think I get the summary of what that says, but I don't get the evasivness of not just coming out and saying it in more simple terms. "I try the reccomended baffles"... Huh? "tin cone of meditation". Kindof like a game of charades I guess.
Sincerely, M

Mike said...

Happy Birthday America..!!!

And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.
– Lee Greenwood

Freedom’s natal day is here.
Fire the guns and shout for freedom,
See the flag above unfurled!
Hail the stars and stripes forever,
Dearest flag in all the world.
– Florence A. Jones

...The United States of America may not be as perfect a political system as some would constantly try to point out, but without the freedoms of this great nation, those complainers would be without a voice or blog...

Alon Perlman said...


July 4 / Rockets whistling

Over-time, when the habit of worry grew thin,
I allowed that squirrel, a perch on my shoulder.
And in the autumn of my life,
lacking the need for discipline,
I tended to his feedings as routine.
He was not particular, that glutton
And misplaced keys or worlds colliding
lost themselves in his outstretched belly
And one day the sensation of his tiny nails was gone.
The little bugger ate himself into an early grave,
and would no longer share --
in the winter of our discontent.

Word verification; grattati
Ok, I didn't originate in Italy
but wadda heck
Gratzi Amerika!

Churadogs said...

M, the squirrel is a metaphor. If you've ever had a bird feeder and a squirrel, the squirrel is nearly impossible to keep off the feeder, wherein it eats all the seed. You can attach metal cones so the darned thing can't crawl down the hanger, or grease up the feeder pole so he can't clamber up, etc. Garden magazines are filled with all sorts of clever devices and handy hints as to how to defeat the damned squirrels, but often nothing works. Squirrels are really hard to keep away from the feeders. In this poem the squirrel is fear that, if allowed to, will eat up the poet's seeds --the short time/peace of mind/life he has left -- if he let's it so he tries all the baffles (meditation, positive thinking, etc.) but he also understands that fear/death -- the ultimate squirrel - will win, no matter what he does. As for just saying that, that would be dull and boring. Instead, you now have an elegant image in your head "twitching his question mark tail" of how difficult it is to keep fear/worry/death at bay -- like constantly battling a hungry squirrel. That's what poetry is all about: giving you different symbols and images to describe the often undescribable.