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A Letter in October
Ted Kooser


Dawn comes later and later now,
and I, who only a month ago
could sit with coffee every morning
watching the light walk down the hill
to the edge of the pond and place
a doe there, shyly drinking,
then see the light step out upon
the water, sowing reflections
to either side—a garden
of trees that grew as if by magic—
now see no more than my face,
mirrored by darkness, pale and odd,
startled by time. While I slept,
night in its thick winter jacket
bridled the doe with a twist
of wet leaves and led her away,
then brought its black horse with harness
that creaked like a cricket, and turned
the water garden under. I woke,
and at the waiting window found
the curtains open to my open face;
beyond me, darkness. And I,
who only wished to keep looking out,
must now keep looking in.

From Weather Central (University of Pittsburgh Press).
Copyright 1994 by Ted Kooser.
Used with the author’s permission.


Ted Kooser spent 35 years in the insurance industry, earning his Master of Arts Degree from the University of Nebraska and writing poems every morning before he left for the office. Now one of the country's most highly regarded poets, he is widely admired for his simple, straightforward style and the discovery of beauty in ordinary things. While serving as United States Poet Laureate from 2004 through 2006, Ted created the American Life in Poetry project to provide newspapers and websites with contemporary American poetry and a brief analysis of each, at no charge. Author of 16 books of poetry, winner of a Pulitzer Prize, and recipient of several honorary doctorates, Ted lives in the country near Garland, Nebraska. Read more about him at


Post New Comment:
So beautiful!! So unlike my Florida mornings which are still warm and muggy. Thanks for this word painting.
Posted 10/01/2014 07:43 PM
Seg Nganga:
Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it,
Posted 10/01/2014 07:18 PM
Gilbert Allen:
A lovely, well-wrought lyric poem.
Posted 10/01/2014 05:35 PM
Janet Leahy:
Perfect poem for this season as we become wary of the darkness. Kooser is one of my favorite poets. Thanks Jayne for bringing us this poem.
Posted 10/01/2014 09:14 AM
How beautiful. Ted placed me on his Valentine's list a few years ago. He no longer writes those poems per se, but I am greatly honored to have received the gift of a Valentine from him for a few years. Love you, Ted Kooser!
Posted 10/01/2014 08:47 AM
Very nice indeed!
Posted 10/01/2014 08:24 AM
Larry Schug:
Ted Kooser is THE MASTER! A teacher who teaches us how to see, how to pay attention to being alive.
Posted 10/01/2014 08:02 AM
Kooser at his best.
Posted 10/01/2014 06:01 AM
Profound reflection.
Posted 10/01/2014 01:01 AM

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