April 11 Poetry: Gates by Ted Kooser- a subtle love poem I think...

These are the most open of all gates!
I really cannot allow a poetry month to go by without posting some Ted Kooser poem. I am basically in love with this man. Or his poetry at least!  One of our first (and best) dates ever (with Sean not Ted Kooser) was going to see Him (Ted) do a reading. He was so ordinary. I am charmed by ordinary.

One of the things He said was that a lot of the"great poets" of the English language did a disservice to poetry by making it inaccessible to regular people.  I found that crazy liberating.  It felt like, "okay I can like poetry without having to understand what the hell Tennyson or Hopkins or whomever is talking about. It's not about my failure if I don't understand poetry."

Anyway, we have this poem hanging on the wall of our living room.   And, I LOVE IT!

This is a poem for me about leaving our hearts open to love, to emotion, to feeling, to depth etc.  Surely openness is a dangerous endeavor indeed.


If a gate stands open long enough,
it can't be closed again. Slowly,
the morning glories tie it fast,
and the strength that kept it flying
over the grass-tops lets it down.

The same thing happens if a gate's
left closed; you lose it to the fence
(that's what a fence wants, after all).
A rule of thumb; if you can't use
your gate enough to keep in swinging,
better to leave it standing wide.

-Ted Kooser
Sadly I don't have a reference for this poem. On the card it is printed on it says, "232 copies handest &printed 12 point Americana type by Michael Tarachow as the third Pentagram Press by letterpress broadside, May 1976 Poem copywrited by Ted Kooser"


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