Voices

January 07, 2007|By Ted Kooser | Ted Kooser,Special to the Sun

Home is where the heart ... well, surely we all know that old saying. But it's the particulars of a home that make it ours. Here the poet Linda Parsons Marion, who lives in Knoxville, Tenn., celebrates familiarity, in its detail and its richness.

- Ted Kooser

"Home Fire"

Whether on the boulevard or gravel backroad,

I do not easily raise my hand to those who toss

up theirs in anonymous hello, merely to say

"I'm passing this way." Once out of shyness, now

reluctance to tip my hand, I admire the shrubbery

instead. I've learned where the lines are drawn

and keep the privet well trimmed. I left one house

with toys on the floor for another with quiet rugs

and a bed where the moon comes in. I've thrown

myself at men in black turtlenecks only to find

that home is best after all. Home where I sit

in the glider, knowing it needs oil, like my own

rusty joints. Where I coax blackberry to dogwood

and winter to harvest, where my table is clothed

in light. Home where I walk out on the thin page

of night, without waving or giving myself away,

and return with my words burning like fire in the grate.

Ted Kooser was U.S. poet laureate, 2004-06. Copyright 1997 by Linda Parsons. Reprinted from "Home Fires: Poems," Sow's Ear Press, 1997, by permission of the author.

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