A Happy Birthday
By Ted Kooser – 1939-
This evening, I sat by an open window
and read till the light was gone and the book
was no more than a part of the darkness.
I could easily have switched on a lamp,
but I wanted to ride this day down into night,
to sit alone and smooth the unreadable page
with the pale gray ghost of my hand.
Tomorrow, I will turn 45. Somedays, I can’t believe I am 45 years old, then other days, I feel every minute of my age. However, the depiction of “A Happy Birthday” in this poem by Ted Kooser, sounds like a pretty good way to end a day.
About Ted Kooser
Poet Laureate of the United States, 2004-2006
Ted Kooser was born in Ames, Iowa on April 25, 1939. He received his BA from Iowa State and his MA in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he is currently a visiting professor in the English department.
He is the author of twelve collections of poetry published from 1980 to as recent as 2018. He has written several fiction and nonfiction books including Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps (Bison Books, 2002), which won the Nebraska Book Award for Nonfiction in 2003. His honors and awards include two NEA fellowships in poetry, a Pushcart Prize, the Stanley Kunitz Prize from Columbia, and a Merit Award from the Nebraska Arts Council. In the fall of 2004, Kooser was appointed the thirteenth United States Poet Laureate.