Quotes by Ted Kooser

"a happy birthday

this evening, I sat by an open window
and read till the light was gone and the book
was no more than a part of the darkness.
I could easily have switched on a lamp,
but I wanted to ride the day down into night,
to sit alone, and smooth the unreadable page
with the pale gray ghost of my hand"
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"Valentine's Day is the poet's holiday."
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"Considering the ways in which so many of us waste our time, what would be wrong with a world in which everybody were writing poems? After all, there’s a significant service to humanity in spending time doing no harm. While you’re writing your poem, there’s one less scoundrel in the world. And I’d like a world, wouldn’t you, in which people actually took time to think about what they were saying? It would be, I’m certain, a more peaceful, more reasonable place. I don’t think there could ever be too many poets. By writing poetry, even those poems that fail and fail miserably, we honor and affirm life. We say ‘We loved the earth but could not stay."
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"MOTHER – By Ted Kooser

Mid April already, and the wild plums
bloom at the roadside, a lacy white
against the exuberant, jubilant green
of new grass and the dusty, fading black
of burned-out ditches. No leaves, not yet,
only the delicate, star-petaled
blossoms, sweet with their timeless perfume.

You have been gone a month today
and have missed three rains and one nightlong
watch for tornadoes. I sat in the cellar
from six to eight while fat spring clouds
went somersaulting, rumbling east. Then it poured,
a storm that walked on legs of lightning,
dragging its shaggy belly over the fields.

The meadowlarks are back, and the finches
are turning from green to gold. Those same
two geese have come to the pond again this year,
honking in over the trees and splashing down.

They never nest, but stay a week or two
then leave. The peonies are up, the red sprouts,
burning in circles like birthday candles,
for this is the month of my birth, as you know,
the best month to be born in, thanks to you,
everything ready to burst with living.

There will be no more new flannel nightshirts
sewn on your old black Singer, no birthday card
addressed in a shaky but businesslike hand.

You asked me if I would be sad when it happened
and I am sad. But the iris I moved from your house
now hold in the dusty dry fists of their roots
green knives and forks as if waiting for dinner,
as if spring were a feast. I thank you for that.

Were it not for the way you taught me to look
at the world, to see the life at play in everything,
I would have to be lonely forever."
20 likes

"When she left me
I stood out in the thunderstorm,
hoping to be destroyed by lightning.
It missed, first left, then right."
16 likes

Ted Kooser
  • Ted Kooser

  • Description: Ted Kooser lives in rural Nebraska with his wife, Kathleen, and three dogs. He is one of America's most noted poets, having served two terms as U. S. Poet Laureate and, during the second term, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his collection, DELIGHTS & SHADOWS. He is a retired life insurance executive who now teaches part-time at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. The school board in Lincoln, Nebraska, recently opened Ted Kooser Elementary School, which Ted says is his greatest honor, among many awards and distinctions. He has published twelve collections of poetry and three nonfiction books. Two of the latter are books on writing, THE POETRY HOME REPAIR MANUAL and WRITING BRAVE AND FREE, and a memoir, LIGHTS ON A GROUND OF DARKNESS (all from University of Nebraska Press. BAG IN THE WIND from Candlewick is his first children's book, with which he is delighted. "It's wonderful," Ted said, "to be writing for young people. I am reinventing myself at age 70."

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