Thursday, July 11, 2019

The poetry of paying attention …

… It All Means Something. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Kooser hones in on the remains of things, like an archaeologist combing through layers of time. Broken-down trucks. Unused shears. Tree stumps. Ashes. He is especially fascinated by old tools. “Lantern” (p. 143) ruminates on an aged lantern that, even in its prime, gave “not more than a cup of warmth.” At the end of its usefulness, it provides a bed for a brood of mice. They soon abandon it, “the way we all, one day, move on / leaving a sharp little whiff / of ourselves in the dirty bedding.” In Kooser’s eyes, we are no more or less significant than mice. Our only advantage is the ability to write verses about our brief passage. Images and stories illuminate the short, dark path: “Theirs are the open wings / we light our table by” (“At a Kitchen Table” p. 146).

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