American Life in Poetry: Column 691
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
I’ve arrived at an age at which I avoid looking into my old address books, although I’ve kept them all. Too many of those addresses are those of people no longer among us. Louis Phillips, a New Yorker, catches that feeling of loss in this poem from The Domain of Silence; The Domain of Absence: New & Selected Poems, from Pleasure Boat Studio.
The Address Book
How could I predict
That my life wd become whatever,
So many people
Passing thru—address books
Filled with names & numbers
I no longer recognize,
Pages torn loose,
Addresses crossed out,
Lives badly smudged,
Decades of earnest grief,
What am I now?
Just another old man
Among old men.
Turn the calendar upside down
& let the days fall out.
CHAUCERIAN SONNET: A TALE OF
THE CLARK OF KENT
A Clark there was of Kent also
That unto comic strips longe ygo
Made a byggen splash, tho lene was his readers’ brains
As if they didn’t knowen to come out of rain.
This Clark was a reporter, mild and just,
Who for Lois Lane hungered with great lust,
But this meek carl –and this is God’s own truth –
Could change himself in any payphone booth
Into a hero faster than a speeding duck
(Some folks haven all the luck!)
& flew villains toward Lawe’s iron reche
For gladly would he learn and gladly teche
That Crime payeth not & is not too sound
When Superman leapeth over tall buildings
with a single bound.
PICK UP LINES
What’s a reader like you
Doing with a poem like this?
from ROWING TO THE SILLY ISLANDS (World Audience Books)