Thursday, October 25, 2007

Totally Optional Prompt: Poetry

This week's Totally Optional Prompt is "Horse" by Ted Kooser. I have heard him read on NPR and have several of his collections. His poetry is, on the surface, straightforward, with accessible imagery and language. His voice is the voice of 'everyman' and his poems have a deceptive power. A consummate observer, Kooser's poems celebrate the power of the small, intimate moments that we might otherwise pass over as insignificant, but which make up a life. So, in the spirit of Ted Kooser's work, my offering for this week.

The Lilac Bush Lies Dormant

". . . lilacs are blooming in side yards
all over Iowa, still welcoming you."

(From "Father," by Ted Kooser)

For a week this spring, the thick syrup
of lilacs flavored the air. Such a brief
season to bud, bloom, and decay. Yours
lasted a century; a hundred flowerings
followed by a hundred frosts.

There is no way to avoid wilted
stems in brackish water, the gentle
fall of petals on the night stand.
Even if I had placed a new sprig
in the vase each morning,
you both would have died anyway.

--LJCohen, 2007


  1. Captured the cycle of time with its brevity. I really like that.

  2. How true - how beautiful how sad and how true

    I like the way you moved from living to the inevitability of death and yet kept the hope...

  3. A very moving, bittersweet piece, beautifully put.

  4. i love this the inclusion of the brackish water,, salty yet sweet,, the culmination... very very good....

  5. This is beautiful. Portrays life in relative words. Nicely done!

  6. very nice. this poem opens up great and finishes strong.

  7. Gorgeous and rich. "thick syrup" is just right for that scent. I was suprised and delighted by how the poem turned, even as sad as it is.

    Nice intro, too.

  8. I am going to look up Ted Kooser. Thanks for the brief intro.

    I liked reading your work too. That last line is very good.

  9. this is amazing.

    they are brief..those lilacs. and distinct.

    really well done.

  10. Thank you all for your gracious comments. I am pleased that you saw the hope as well as the sadness in this.

  11. I've always been attracted to lilacs and your finely crafted poem spoke volumes to me. My mom is failing and she's as lovely as a lilac. It's comforting to know, even after they're gone by, that their scent lingers in our memory. ~Linda

  12. So sad, yet beautiful in the way you've captured life's transience and the inevitability of death.