American Life in Poetry: Column 572

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

In my limited experience, mothering and worrying go hand in hand. Here's a mother's worry poem by Richard Jarrette, from his fine book, A Hundred Million Years of Nectar Dances. He lives in California.

My Mother Worries About My Hat

Every spring my mother says I should buy a straw
hat so I won't overheat in summer.

I always agree but the valley's soon cold, and besides
my old Borsalino is nearly rain-proof.

She's at it again, it's August, the grapes are sugaring.
I say, Okay, and pluck a little spider from her hair—

hair so fine it can't hold even one of her grandmother's
tortoise shell combs.


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Poem copyright ©2015 by Richard Jarrette, “My Mother Worries About My Hat,” from A Hundred Million Years of Nectar Dances, (Green Writers Press, 2015). 
Introduction copyright © 2016 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.