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American Life in Poetry: The Cranes, Texas January

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Mark Sanders, who lives in Texas, is not only a good poet, but he’s an old friend to the poetry of my home ground, working hard as teacher, editor, and publisher to bring Great Plains poetry to the attention of readers across the country. Here’s an example of one of his poems.

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The Cranes, Texas January

I call my wife outdoors to have her listen,

to turn her ears upward, beyond the cloud-veiled

sky where the moon dances thin light,

to tell her, “Don’t hear the cars on the freeway— 

it’s not the truck-rumble. It is and is not

the sirens.” She stands there, on deck

a rocking boat, wanting to please the captain

who would have her hear the inaudible. 

Her eyes, so blue the day sky is envious,

fix blackly on me, her mouth poised on question

like a stone. But, she hears, after all.

                                    January on the Gulf,

warm wind washing over us,

we stand chilled in the winter of those voices. 

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 ©2011 by Mark Sanders from his most recent book of poems, Conditions of Grace: New and Selected Poems, Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2011. Poem reprinted by permission of Mark Sanders and the publisher.

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Ted Kooser

Ted Kooser is the the 2004-2006 Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. American Life in Poetry is a free weekly column for newspapers and online publications featuring a poem by a contemporary American poet and a brief introduction to the poem by Kooser.

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