Ted Kooser

As if in Pencil, on a Winter Sky

Ted Kooser’s “As if in Pencil, On a Winter Sky” read by poet BJ Ward

From a drifted-over country road
this farmhouse looks more like a sketch,
lightly penciled as if to suggest snow
in the air, a few strokes to shape it:
two stories in height in an L shape,
the sloping roof almost invisible,
white against blank white sky. Snow,
too, on the sheds in corrugated grays.

Passing by on the road it’s as if
we’re looking in over the shoulder
of someone good at drawing things,
but not so good at people. Can there
be anyone home in that ghostly house?
All white, or gray on white, no light
in any window, drawn with a No. 2
pencil stub as yellow as a school bus
that’s not coming any time today.

Ted Kooser lives in rural Nebraska and recently retired from teaching at the University of Nebraska. He served two terms as US Poet Laureate and won a Pulitzer Prize for his book Delights & Shadows. His most recent collection is Red Stilts, from Copper Canyon Press.

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Winter 2021