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Saturday, October 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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American Life in Poetry: Are We Still Here?

By Ted Kooser U.S. poet laureate, 2004-06

This column has often emphasized the importance of poetry that notices what’s right under our noses, and this poem by David Mason, the former poet laureate of Colorado, who is currently living in Tasmania, is a good example of what you can see if you stop to look. Mason’s most recent book of poetry is “The Sound: New and Selected Poems” from Red Hen Press.

Are We Still Here?

Between the woodpile and the window

a line of small black ants is moving,

some to the north, some to the south.

Their constant industry is admirable,

as are their manners when they pause

in meeting to exchange a touch.

I must have brought their home inside

for fuel, heating my small house.

And if it burned I too would move

along all points of the compass rose,

touching my neighbors on the path.

Poem copyright2018 by David Mason, “Are We Still Here?” (2018). Poem reprinted by permission. American Life in Poetry is made possible by the Poetry Foundation and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We do not accept unsolicited submissions.

Wordcount: 196
Tags: ae, books

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