National Poetry Month: April 16th

A Box of Pastels by Ted Kooser

I once held on my knees a simple wooden box
in which a rainbow lay dusty and broken.
It was a set of pastels that had years before
belonged to the painter Mary Cassatt,
and all of the colors she’d used in her work
lay open before me. Those hues she’d most used,
the peaches and pinks, were worn down to stubs,
while the cool colors – violet, ultramarine –
had been set, scarcely touched, to one side.
She’d had little patience with darkness, and her heart
held only a measure of shadow. I touched
the warm dust of those colors, her tools,
and left there with light on the tips of my fingers.

Self Portrait by Mary Cassatt (1876)
Self Portrait by Mary Cassatt (1876)

This poem was selected by Laura H. (Readers’ Services)

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National Poetry Month: April 25th

A Box of Pastels by Ted Kooser

I once held on my knees a simple wooden box
in which a rainbow lay dusty and broken.
It was a set of pastels that had years before
belonged to the painter Mary Cassatt,
and all of the colors she’d used in her work
lay open before me. Those hues she’d most used,
the peaches and pinks, were worn down to stubs,
while the cool colors — violet, ultramarine —
had been set, scarcely touched, to one side.
She’d had little patience with darkness, and her heart
held only a measure of shadow. I touched
the warm dust of those colors, her tools,
and left there with light on the tips of my fingers.

pastels

This poem was selected by Laura H. (Readers’ Services)

Poetry Copyright Notice

National Poetry Month: April 17th

Selecting a Reader by Ted Kooser

First, I would have her be beautiful,
and walking carefully up on my poetry
at the loneliest moment of an afternoon,
her hair still damp at the neck
from washing it.  She should be wearing
a raincoat, an old one, dirty
from not having money enough for the cleaners.
She will take out her glasses, and there
in the bookstore, she will thumb
over my poems, then put the book back
up on the shelf.  She will say to herself,
“For that kind of money, I can get
my raincoat cleaned.”  And she will.

This poem was selected by Mary H. (Reader’s Services)

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