57. American Life in Poetry: Column 491

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Here’s a fine poem by Heather Allen, a Connecticut poet who pays close attention to what’s right under her feet. It may seem ordinary, but it isn’t.

Grasses

So still at heart,
They respond like water
To the slightest breeze,
Rippling as one body,

And, as one mind,
Bend continually
To listen:
The perfect confidants,

They keep to themselves,
A web of trails and nests,
Burrows and hidden entrances—
Do not reveal

Those camouflaged in stillness
From the circling hawks,
Or crouched and breathless
At the passing of the fox.

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 ©1996 by Heather Allen. Reprinted from Leaving a Shadow, 1996, by permission of Copper Canyon Press, http://www.coppercanyonpress.org. Introduction copyright © 2014 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. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

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