Here’s another installment of American Life in Poetry from Ted Kooser —J.S.

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American Life in Poetry

Column 142

By Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2004-2006

There’s that old business about the tree falling in the middle of the forest with no one to hear it: does it make a noise? Here Linda Gregg, of New York, offers us a look at an elegant beauty that can be presumed to exist and persist without an observer.

“Elegance”

All that is uncared for.

Left alone in the stillness

in that pure silence married

to the stillness of nature.

A door off its hinges,

shade and shadows in an empty room.

Leaks for light. Raw where

the tin roof rusted through.

The rustle of weeds in their

different kinds of air in the mornings,

year after year.

A pecan tree, and the house

made out of mud bricks. Accurate

and unexpected beauty, rattling

and singing. If not to the sun,

then to nothing and to no one.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c) 2006 by Linda Gregg. Reprinted from “In the Middle Distance,” Graywolf Press, 2006, by Linda Gregg, with permission of the author and publisher.