A Happy Birthday

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.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

4 responses to “A Happy Birthday

  • Steven Davis

    Great poem and a relaxing way to bring any day to a close. However…
    Lol, based on the pic of the day, I thought you were going to tell us you had a threesome! I hope your 45th birthday is everything you want it to be! Enjoy!
    Happy Birthday! 🥳🙌🏼🥂

  • Dave Combe

    Hippo birdie two ewe?

  • iameverywhere1

    Happy Birthday Joe and lots more. Enjoy youth as someday you’ll long for when you were 45. I simply relish having made it to 66 and retirement’s down the road. Plus, I know a whole bunch more now than I did just ten years ago. I’ve had many opportunities to learn from experience. Keep going Joe!!!

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