By Ted Kooser
Former U.S. Poet Laureate
To commemorate Mother’s Day, here’s a lovely poem by David Wojahn of Virginia, remembering his mother after forty years.
Walking to School, 1964
Blurring the window, the snowflakes’
numb white lanterns.
She’s brewed her coffee, in the bathroom
And sets her lipstick upright on the sink.
The door ajar, I glimpse the yellow slip,
The rose-colored birthmark on her
Then she’s dressed—the pillbox hat and
And I’m dressed too, mummified in
And scarves, and I walk her to the bus
Where she’ll leave me for my own walk
Where she’ll board the bus that zigzags
to St. Paul
As I watch her at the window, the
Romance already open on her lap,
The bus laboring off into snow, her
Still startling my cheek with lipstick trace.
Life in Poetry is made possible by www.poetryfoundation.org, publisher
of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English
at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c)1990 by David
Wojahn, whose most recent book of poems is “Interrogation Palace: New
and Selected Poems 1982-2004,” University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006.
“Walking to School, 1964” is from the longer poem “White Lanterns,”
printed in “Poetry,” Vol. 157, 1990, by permission of David Wojahn and
Introduction copyright (c)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.