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American Life in Poetry: Column 136

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Here’s a fine seasonal poem by Todd Davis, who lives and teaches in Pennsylvania. It’s about the drowsiness that arrives with the early days of autumn. Can a bear imagine the future? Surely not as a human would, but perhaps it can sense that the world seems to be slowing toward slumber. Who knows?

Sleep

On the ridge above Skelp Road   
bears binge on blackberries and apples,   
even grapes, knocking down   
the Petersens’ arbor to satisfy the sweet   
hunger that consumes them.  Just like us   
they know the day must come when   
the heart slows, when to take one   
more step would mean the end of things   
as they should be.  Sleep is a drug;   
dreams its succor.  How better to drift   
toward another world but with leaves   
falling, their warmth draping us,   
our stomachs full and fat with summer?

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Poem copyright © 2007 by Todd Davis. Reprinted from Some Heaven, by Todd Davis, published by Michigan State University Press, 2007, by permission of the author and publisher.
Introduction copyright © 2014 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.

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