Here is a poem by David Bengtson, a Minnesotan, about the simple pleasure of walking through deep snow to the mailbox to see what’s arrived. But, of course, the pleasure is not only in picking up the mail with its surprises, but in the complete experience—being fully alive to the clean cold air and the sound of the wind around the mailbox door.
What Calls UsIn winter, it is what calls us from seclusion, through endless snow to the end of a long driveway where, we hope, it waits— this letter, this package, this singing of wind around an opened door.
Reprinted from What Calls Us, a Dacotah Territory Chapbook, 2003, by permission of the author, whose most recent book is Broken Lines: Prose Poems, from Juniper Press, St. Paul, MN, 2003. Poem copyright © 2003 by David Bengtson. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.
About the Author
Ted Kooser was born in Ames, Iowa, in 1939. He is the author of a number of collections of poetry, including Flying at Night (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005), Delights & Shadows (Copper Canyon, 2004), and Sure Signs (1980). His nonfiction books include The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets (University of Nebraska Press, 2005) and Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps (University of Nebraska Press, 2002).
Kooser is the U. S. Poet Laureate (2004-2006) and a professor in the English Department of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He lives on an acreage near the village of Garland, Nebraska, with his wife Kathleen Rutledge, the editor of the Lincoln Journal Star.