In his drab gray overcoat
unbuttoned and flying out behind,
a stocky, bullet-headed owl
with dirty claws and thick wrists
slowly flaps home
from working the night shift.
He is so tired he has forgotten
his lunchbox, his pay stub.
He will not be able to sleep
in his empty apartment
what with the neighboring blackbirds
flying into his face,
but will stay awake all morning,
round-shouldered and glassy-eyed,
composing a poem about
paradise, perfectly woven
of mouse bones and moist pieces of fur.
From Winter Morning Walks, by Ted Kooser
Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2000
Used by permission of the author
Ted Kooser wrote his way out of the fog of cancer, with all of its density-- by walking each morning at dawn, or before. He addressed his "postcards" to his good friend Jim Harrison. Often writing our way out of an emotional funk is as good a mental practice as it is an exercise for writers. I know Ted and his poems have taught me a great deal about living and surviving life.