Clouds and sun
30°
Clouds and sun
Hi 36° | Lo 22°

American Life in Poetry No. 489

U.S. Poet Laureate, 2004-2006

Jonathan Greene, who lives in Kentucky, is a master of the short poem, but while he prunes them down to their essentials he never cuts out the wonder and delight. Here’s a good example from his most recent book. Can you feel the exclamation point that’s suggested at the end? You can’t see it, but it’s there.

One Light to Another

The storm

turns off

the lights.

The lightning

lights the whereabouts

of the flashlight.

The flashlight

takes us to matches

and candles, the oil lamp.

Now we’re back,

revisiting

the 19th century.

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 ©2013 by Jonathan Greene, from his most recent book of poems, Seeking Light: New & Selected Later Poems, Broadstone Books, 2013. Poem reprinted by permission of Jonathan Greene and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2014 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. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.