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American Life in Poetry
by Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2004-2006

I'd guess we've all had dreams like the one portrayed in this wistful poem by Tennessee poet Jeff Daniel Marion. And I'd guess that, like me, you too have tried to nod off again just to capture a few more moments from the past.


Last night in a dream

you came to me. We were young

again and you were smiling,

happy in the way a sparrow in spring

hops from branch to branch.

I took you in my arms

and swung you about, so carefree

was my youth.

What can I say?

That time wears away, draws its lines

on every feature? That we wake

to dark skies whose only answer

is rain, cold as the years

that stretch behind us, blurring

this window far from you.


Reprinted from Lost & Found, The Sow's Ear Press, Abingdon, Va., 1994, by permission of the author. Poem copyright 1994 by Jeff Daniel Marion, whose most recent book is Ebbing & Flowing Springs: New and Selected Poems and Prose, 1976-2001, Celtic Cat Publishing, 2002. This weekly column is supported by the Poetry Foundation, the Library of Congress and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

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