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A Letter in October by Ted Kooser

I guess that’s really how it is to love, yeah? I said, just now to a friend. You let go again and again.

I extend my arms, my fingers tapping an invisible thread, a bit unresponsive some days. This day. And maybe more days in the future. I hope not. I’m hoping not.

I am told I am the kind of person who sets herself up for disappointment. I feel I have been told this before, and I’ve forgotten.

Why do I set myself up for that, it’s fucking cruel, I said.

Maybe I am always told this, and maybe I always choose to forget. Maybe the thing I should remember is that my self is also someone I should love.

A Letter in October
Ted Kooser

Dawn comes later and later now,
and I, who only a month ago
could sit with coffee every morning
watching the light walk down the hill
to the edge of the pond and place
a doe there, shyly drinking,

then see the light step out upon
the water, sowing reflections
to either side—a garden
of trees that grew as if by magic—
now see no more than my face,
mirrored by darkness, pale and odd,

startled by time. While I slept,
night in its thick winter jacket
bridled the doe with a twist
of wet leaves and led her away,
then brought its black horse with harness
that creaked like a cricket, and turned

the water garden under. I woke,
and at the waiting window found
the curtains open to my open face;
beyond me, darkness. And I,
who only wished to keep looking out,
must now keep looking in.

(from Poetry Foundation)

Comments (2)

  • Emily Ransdell

    amazing coincidence – your post with Ted Kooser’s lovely poem just came as I sit here working on my own poem about October. Here is is so far:

    To Praise These Last Days of October

    is to take in the scent of cedar duff,
    to walk through the umber and sweet
    decay of a lost memory finally found.
    Now, the fallen alder leaves wink
    like bright coins on the path where we
    have flushed a reluctant bittern and forced
    the slow wingbeats of its heavy churn.
    What does a bird see from the sky? I like
    to think it admires the golden reeds
    it has risen from and looks down
    as I would, at the long flyway
    beneath it, the muscular oaks that fringe
    the open fields with curling leaves.

    The season is changing. Breathing
    is like burying my face in your collar
    when you come in from the cold.
    Even though your arms hold open
    the white blanket of winter,
    I am diving in.

  • Arlene

    Reading this felt like sitting with you as night seeped in. Thanks


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