Weather Forecast

Close
Advertisement

American Life in Poetry: Fireflies

Email Sign up for Breaking News Alerts
opinion Morris, 56267
Morris Minnesota 607 Pacific Avenue 56267

By Ted Kooser

Marilyn Kallet lives and teaches in Tennessee. Over the years I have read many poems about fireflies, but of all of them hers seems to offer the most and dearest peace.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Fireflies

In the dry summer field at nightfall,

fireflies rise like sparks.

Imagine the presence of ghosts

flickering, the ghosts of young friends,

your father nearest in the distance.

This time they carry no sorrow,

no remorse, their presence is so light.

Childhood comes to you,

memories of your street in lamplight,

holding those last moments before bed,

capturing lightning-bugs,

with a blossom of the hand

letting them go. Lightness returns,

an airy motion over the ground

you remember from Ring Around the Rosie.

If you stay, the fireflies become fireflies

again, not part of your stories,

as unaware of you as sleep, being

beautiful and quiet all around you.

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 ©2009 by Marilyn Kallet, from her most recent book of poetry, Packing Light: New and Selected Poems, Black Widow Press, 2009. Reprinted by permission of Marilyn Kallet. Introduction copyright © 2009 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.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
randomness