American Life Poetry

Published on Wed, Jul 15, 2009 by Ted Kooser Former U.S. Poet Laureate

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One of the privileges of being U.S. Poet Laureate was to choose two poets each year to receive a $10,000 fellowship, funded by the Witter Bynner Foundation. Joseph Stroud, who lives in California, was one of my choices. This poem is representative of his clear-eyed, imaginative poetry.

Night in Day
The night never wants to end,
to give itself over
to light. So it traps itself in
things: obsidian, crows.
Even on summer solstice, the
day of light’s great
triumph, where fields of sun
flowers guzzle in the sun--
we break open the watermelon
and spit out
black seeds, bits of night
glistening on the grass.