A Letter in October

By Ted Kooser b. 1939 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.

Ted Kooser, “A Letter in October” from Weather Central. Copyright © 1994 by Ted Kooser. All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, www.upress.pitt.edu. Used by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.

Source: Weather Central (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1994)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Ted Kooser b. 1939

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Nature, Animals

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Ted  Kooser

Biography

Poet and essayist Ted Kooser is known for his honest, accessible verse that celebrates the quotidian and captures a vanishing way of life. Brad Leithauser wrote in the New York Times Book Review that, “Whether or not he originally set out to…[Kooser’s] become, perforce, an elegist.” Populated by farmers, family ancestors, and heirlooms, Kooser’s poems reflect his abiding interest in the past, but escape nostalgia in part because . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Animals

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.