The Life and Poetry of Ted Kooser

By Mary K. Stillwell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER NINETEEN
“Lights on a Ground of Darkness”

The iris in my garden will soon bloom.

—From “Lights on a Ground of Darkness”

Kooser quickly went on to publish two chapbooks in limited edition by fine arts presses: A Book of Things by Lyra Press in 1995 and A Decade of’Valentines with Bonnie O’Connell, director of Abattoir editions at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 19 9 6. However, the loss of loved ones, the fleeting nature of time, and the desire to preserve life and times through imagination, memory, and poetry, major themes of Weather Central, continued to weigh on the poet’s mind.

Reminders of mortality seemed to be around every corner. On December 15, 1997, when his first grandchild was born, Kooser’s mother’s health was showing signs of decline. He traveled to Illinois in early 1998 to visit his son and new granddaughter. “I am quite taken with Margaret Emily Kooser, now up to 6# 2 oz.” he wrote the Nathans. He continued, “I held her for an hour Saturday night and she put her tiny hand in my chin whiskers and showed me her eyes, which are blue-black, like the night sky.

“When she [Margaret] is her father’s age, I will be my mother’s age (exactly), and when she is my age, her father will be my mother’s age—Sometimes it is thrilling, isn’t it, feeling the speed.”

-165-

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