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Barbara Crooker

This week, the news of the world is bleak, another war
grinding on, and all these friends down with cancer,
or worse, a little something long term that they won’t die of
for twenty or thirty miserable years—
And here I live in a house of weathered brick, where a man
with silver hair still thinks I’m beautiful. How many times
have I forgotten to give thanks? The late day sun shines
through the pink wisteria with its green and white leaves
as if it were stained glass, there’s an old cherry tree
that one lucky Sunday bloomed with a rainbow:
cardinals, orioles, goldfinches, blue jays, indigo buntings,
and my garden has tiny lettuces just coming up,
so perfect they could make you cry: Green Towers,
Red Sails, Oak Leaf. For this is May, and the whole world
sings, gleams, as if it were basted in butter, and the air’s
sweet enough to send a diabetic into shock—
And at least today, all the parts of my body are working,
the sky’s clear as a china bowl, leaves murmur their leafy chatter,
finches percolate along. I’m doodling around this page,
know sorrow’s somewhere beyond the horizon, but still, I’m riffing
on the warm air, the wingbeats of my lungs that can take this all in,
flush the heart’s red peony, then send it back without effort or thought.
And the trees breathe in what we exhale, clap their green hands
in gratitude, bend to the sky.
From Line Dance (Word Press, 2008).
This poem first appeared in Poetry East.
Used here with the author’s permission.

Barbara Crooker’s award-winning poems have appeared in numerous magazines, journals, and anthologies and have been featured on the BBC, the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company), The Writer's Almanac, and in the Poetry at Noon series at the Library of Congress. Recipient of many fellowships and residencies in the U.S., as well as in Ireland and France, she was also a Grammy finalist for her part in the audio version of the popular anthology, Grow Old Along with Me--the Best is Yet to Be. Barbara lives in Fogelsville, Pennsylvania. Learn more about Barbara at





Post New Comment:
Gilbert Allen:
A lovely poem--one whose light seems brighter because of the darkness in the distance.
Posted 05/15/2012 11:10 AM
Joe Sottile:
Yes, Barbara Crooker knows what Melody knows: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”~Melody Beattie
Posted 05/15/2012 09:34 AM
"as if it were basted in butter" terrific line in a terrific poem.
Posted 05/15/2012 09:21 AM
All this gratitude about gratitude! May I join with the appreciators; a wonderful poem to wake up to.
Posted 05/15/2012 08:36 AM
Kathe L. Palka:
Wow! Just gorgeous. Makes me feel grateful also.
Posted 05/15/2012 08:28 AM
such a bounty of truth and beauty, stunning images in this poem, from a favorite poet of mine...thank you Barbara, for reminding me to "bend to the sky."
Posted 05/15/2012 08:22 AM
Barbara, I'd also recommend Green Ice, a wonderful variety of lettuce. But beware the terrible slug!
Posted 05/15/2012 08:20 AM
Barbara gives us one great image after another. I feel as if I'm there, seeing what she sees. The poem is well-titled. It certainly moves me to gratitude.
Posted 05/15/2012 08:04 AM
Marilyn L Taylor:
Why does reading this astonishingly good poet's work always make me feel happier than I was before? Thank you, Barbara, for "Gratitude."
Posted 05/15/2012 07:35 AM
What a good day this is, and this poem that's still as good as the first time I read it!
Posted 05/15/2012 05:31 AM

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