Years before the age of email, I got the idea of sending out “chain-letter” poems that would test the quality of what I wrote. I thought I might send a new poem to ten friends and ask them to let me know what they thought of it, as well as to make copies to send on to ten others, also asking them to respond back to me. People who liked the poem well enough to participate would have to (1) make copies, (2) address the envelopes, and (3) invest in stamps (then, I thibk, thirty-odd cents). How far would most of my poems get? Not far, I think. I didn’t have the courage to try it, fearing the worst.
But Facebook has made the distribution and appreciation of poetry easy. It takes scarcely any effort at all to click the LIKE or LOVE buttons, and entering a brief comment is quick and efficient and doesn’t cost anything, no stamp to buy: SOMEONE IS TYPING A COMMENT. You and I, fellow poets, probably wouldn’t have received many LIKEs by regular post in the ‘eighties and ‘nineties, but today we can be basking in LOVE. I’m suspicious but I confess that I like it, being a lifelong fool for love and adoration.
And, after that introduction, I warily offer you a new poem….
All the trees’ shoulders are bowed
to the weight of big trash bags
of shadow as they drag them behind
to the edge of the light. The sun’s
coming, but it’s still down the road
a few stops, picking up shadows
left there, far enough to the east
that we can’t hear its compactor
smashing the darkness, but
the heat of its diesel is causing
the distance to shimmer and glow.
Now it’s moving. Here it comes,
lumbering into the morning, one
headlight, the other burned out.
But who needs more than one sun?
Copyright 2021 Ted Kooser. Included by permission of the author.
Ted Kooser was the United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004 – 2006. His many books include Kindest Regards: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon, 2018).