Poetry

July 23, 2006

Here is a marvelous little poem about a long marriage by Kentucky poet Wendell Berry. It's about a couple resigned to and comfortable with their routines. It is written in language as clear and simple as its subject. As close together as these two people have grown, as much alike as they have become, there is always the chance of the one, unpredictable, small moment of independence. Who will be the first to say goodnight? - Ted Kooser

They sit together on the porch, the dark Almost fallen, the house behind them dark. Their supper done with, they have washed and dried The dishes - only two plates now, two glasses, Two knives, two forks, two spoons - small work for two. She sits with her hands folded in her lap, At rest. He smokes his pipe. They do not speak, And when they speak at last it is to say What each one knows the other knows. They have One mind between them, now, that finally For all its knowing will not exactly know Which one goes first through the dark doorway, bidding Goodnight, and which sits on a while alone.

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