Voices

April 08, 2007|By Ted Kooser | Ted Kooser,Special to the Sun

I've talked often in this column about how poetry can hold a mirror up to life, and I'm especially fond of poems that hold those mirrors up to our most ordinary activities, showing them at their best and brightest. Here Ruth Moose hangs out some laundry and, in an instant, an everyday chore that might have seemed to us to be quite plain is fresh and lovely.

- Ted Kooser

"Laundry"

All our life

so much laundry;

each day's doing or not

comes clean,

flows off and away

to blend with other sins

of this world. Each day

begins in new skin,

blessed by the elements

charged to take us

out again to do or undo

what's been assigned.

From socks to shirts

the selves we shed

lift off the line

as if they own

a life apart

from the one we offer.

There is joy in clean laundry.

All is forgiven in water, sun

and air. We offer our day's deeds

to the blue-eyed sky, with soap and prayer,

our arms up, then lowered in supplication.

Ted Kooser was U.S. poet laureate, 2004-06. Copyright 1995 by Ruth Moose. Reprinted from ?Making the Bed,? Main Street Rag Press, 2004, by permission of the author. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

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