American Life in Poetry: Column 637

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BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Judith Harris’s poetry has appeared in this column several times. She lives in Washington, D.C.Here’s a meditation from her most recent book of poems, Night Garden, from Tiger Bark Press.

How Quiet

How quiet is the spruce,
the wind twills
through the uppermost tier
of splayed leaves.
Now the song of a bird
like the squeaky lock
over a canoe’s oar,
followed by startling chirps,
the sky pushing its clouds
like sailboats,
and I think, what kind of God
keeps himself secret
so that to find him out
we have to seek, as children do
for something like the beetle
scuttling between grass,
hidden in plain sight.


We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2013 by Judith Harris, “How Quiet,” from Night Garden, (Tiger Bark Press, 2013). Poem reprinted by permission of Judith Harris and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2017 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

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