Nebraska’s Ted Kooser, U.S. poet laureate from 2004 to 2006, offers “American Life in Poetry,” a column on contemporary poetry.
I’m not alone in noticing how time accelerates as we grow older, and as the seasons grow ever more brief the holidays are gone in a wink. This poem by Nancy Price about Halloween catches a little of that. She’s an Iowan whose poems are so heartfelt, clear and useful that we could run them every week and none of you would complain.
Trick or Treat
The ghost is a torn sheet,
the skeleton’s suit came from a rack in a store
the witch is flameproof, but who knows
what dark streets they have taken here?
Brother Death, here is a candy bar.
For the lady wearing the hat from Salem: gum.
And a penny for each eye, Lost Soul.
They fade away with their heavy sacks.
Thanks! I yell just in time.
Thanks for another year!
Poem copyright ©2007 by Nancy Price from her book of poetry “Two Voices and a Moon,” Malmarie Press, 2007. Reprinted by permission of Nancy Price and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2012 by The Poetry Foundation.