Voices

August 13, 2006|By TED KOOOSER

William Carlos Williams, one of our country's most influential poets and a New Jersey physician, taught us to celebrate daily life. Here Albert Garcia offers us the simple pleasures and modest mysteries of a single summer day. - Ted Kooser

"August Morning"

It's ripe, the melon

by our sink. Yellow,

bee-bitten, soft, it perfumes

the house too sweetly.

At five I wake, the air

mournful in its quiet.

My wife's eyes swim calmly

under their lids, her mouth and jaw

relaxed, different.

What is happening in the silence

of this house? Curtains

hang heavily from their rods.

Ficus leaves tremble

at my footsteps. Yet

the colors outside are perfect -

orange geranium, blue lobelia.

I wander from room to room

like a man in a museum:

wife, children, books, flowers,

melon. Such still air. Soon

the mid-morning breeze will float in

like tepid water, then hot.

How do I start this day,

I who am unsure

of how my life has happened

or how to proceed

amid this warm and steady sweetness?

Kooser was U.S. poet laureate, 2004-2006. Reprinted from Skunk Talk by Albert Garcia; originally published in Poetry East, No. 44. Poem copyright by Albert Garcia; reprinted by permission of the author.

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