Ted Kooser: American life in poetry Dec. 30, 2012

When we began this column in 2005, I determined not to include any of my own poems because I wanted to introduce our readers to the work of as many of the other American poets as I could. But from time to time someone has requested that I publish one of my own. So here's a seasonal poem, for those who've asked.

Christmas Mail

Cards in each mailbox,

angel, manger, star and lamb,

as the rural carrier,

driving the snowy roads,

hears from her bundles

the plaintive bleating of sheep,

the shuffle of sandals,

the clopping of camels.

At stop after stop,

she opens the little tin door

and places deep in the shadows

the shepherds and wise men,

the donkeys lank and weary,

the cow who chews and muses.

And from her Styrofoam cup,

white as a star and perched

on the dashboard, leading her

ever into the distance,

there is a hint of hazelnut,

and then a touch of myrrh.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (http://www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright 2012 by Kooser, whose most recent book of poems is "Together" (Brooding Heron Press, 2012). Poem reprinted by permission of Kooser. Introduction copyright 2012 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 to '06. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

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