American Life in Poetry: Column 762

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

How about a light-footed Irish reel before winter sets in, before the rest of our lives sets in? Here's a poem by Barbara Crooker, who lives in Pennsylvania. Her most recent collection of poems is The Book of Kells from Cascade Books, the winner of the Best Poetry Book of 2018 as judged by Poetry by the Sea.

Reel

Maybe night is about to come
calling, but right now
the sun is still high in the sky.
It's half-past October, the woods
are on fire, blue skies stretch
all the way to heaven. Of course,
we know that winter is coming, its thin
winding sheets and its hard narrow bed.
But right now, the season's fermented
to fullness, so slip into something
light, like your skeleton; while these old
bones are still working, my darling,
let's dance.


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. Poem copyright ©2018 by Barbara Crooker, "Reel," from The Book of Kells, (Cascade Books, 2018). Poem reprinted by permission of Barbara Crooker and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2019 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.