Today is Poem in your Pocket Day – thankfully my daily email from poets.org alerted me to that yesterday, and of course that got me thinking that this would be a great blog post.

But what poem to share? Poems I love tend to be gloomy (like Rilke’s Autumn Day), or rather depressing (like Chidiock Tichborne’s His Elegy), but Ted Kooser is also one of my favorite poets. I especially love his poems that capture the beauty and tenderness of domestic rural life. I was thinking of a poem I haven’t found yet, but here’s one that is exemplary of his work as it shows us how something as mundane as dishwater can shine, for one brief moment, with beauty and elegance.

Dishwater
Slap of the screen
door, flat knock
of my grandmother’s
boxy black shoes
on the wooden stoop,
the hush and sweep
of her knob-kneed,
cotton-aproned stride
out to the edge and
then, toed in
with a furious twist
and heave,
a bridge that leaps
from her hot red hands
and hangs there shining
for fifty years
over the mystified
chickens,
over the swaying
nettles, the ragweed,
the clay slope down to
the creek,
over the redwing
blackbirds in the tops
of the willows, a
glorious rainbow
with an empty dishpan
swinging at one end.

So, rather than the usual stones in my coat pocket, I’m carrying around this dishwater poem today. Or rather, I’m adding it to the stones. Feel free to share if you’ve got a poem in your pocket today.