American Life in Poetry: Column 042

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Here is a poem by David Bengtson, a Minnesotan, about the simple pleasure of walking through deep snow to the mailbox to see what's arrived. But, of course, the pleasure is not only in picking up the mail with its surprises, but in the complete experience—being fully alive to the clean cold air and the sound of the wind around the mailbox door.

What Calls Us

In winter, it is what calls us
from seclusion, through endless snow
to the end of a long driveway
where, we hope, it waits—
this letter, this package, this
singing of wind around an opened door.


We do not accept unsolicited submissions. 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. Reprinted from What Calls Us, a Dacotah Territory Chapbook, 2003, by permission of the author, whose most recent book is Broken Lines: Prose Poems, from Juniper Press, St. Paul, MN, 2003. Poem copyright © 2003 by David Bengtson. Introduction copyright © 2018 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.