Ted Kooser: An American life in poetry, Dec. 22, 2013

Ted Kooser: An American life in poetry, Dec. 22, 2013

Many of us feel a great sense of pride as we watch our children discover the world for the first time. Here, Kathleen Driskell, a Kentucky poet, shows us her own daughter taking that first taste of a late summer watermelon she has grown herself.


In first grade, you met Squanto,

nearly naked and

on his haunches, showing

those thick-headed pilgrims

how one must plant fish

to grow maize. And in autumn

you dove into the lobotomized

pumpkin, into the gooey pulp

and seeds, raising a clump

like a slimy chandelier

from the Titanic. And now

in late summer, daughter,

you smile, holding a ripe watermelon,

cut in half, exposing the black

seed within its bright red heart.

Your melon. How proud you are

to think you grew this delicious

thing all on your own.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (http://www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It also is supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 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. Poem copyright 2009 by Driskell, whose most recent publication is "Peck and Pock: A Graphic Poem" (Fleur de Lis Explorations, 2012). Poem reprinted from "Seed Across Snow" (Red Hen Press, 2009).

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