Ted Kooser

(Ames, Iowa)

A Birthday Poem


Just past dawn, the sun stands
with its heavy red head
in a black stanchion of trees,
waiting for someone to come
with his bucket
for the foamy white light,
and then a long day in the pasture.
I too spend my days grazing,
feasting on every green moment
till darkness calls,
and with the others
I walk away into the night,
swinging the little tin bell
of my name.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003
# 202 poem on top 500 Poems


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Comments about this poem (A Birthday Poem by Ted Kooser )

  • Rookie - 2 Points Luna Tsuki (11/19/2014 3:22:00 AM)

    I walk away into the night,
    swinging the little tin bell
    of my name

    What a weird sensation you get after you read this last part
    beautiful poem (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 4,653 Points Saiom Shriver (4/23/2013 3:39:00 PM)

    It's April 23,2013 so I say Happy Eve of the Eve of Your Birthday, Ted
    and thank you for a mind expanding poem (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kiana Valdez (5/27/2010 5:56:00 PM)

    This poem reminds me of cows..... I LOVE IT! ! ! :) (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 2,228 Points john tiong chunghoo (9/24/2006 4:11:00 AM)

    ted, i love this one. very creative.

    birthday candles
    one by one i wish
    my dreams come true (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Brian Dorn (7/20/2006 4:12:00 PM)

    Like cows, man feasts on its own kind of green, ... but it's grazing just the same. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Joyce Chelmo (4/18/2006 3:35:00 PM)

    I love the poem, it's beautifully succinct, and the descriptives are
    stunning. I like the feel of it as well. I'm a big fan of your work as well.

    Joyce (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Michael Shepherd (1/26/2006 6:11:00 AM)

    I love poems and poets where subtlety is presented as simplicity. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 302 Points Uriah Hamilton (8/30/2005 11:19:00 AM)

    Not strictly a great poem but a certain charm in the simplicity. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie ZhaoNian (Michael) Chen (4/5/2005 7:56:00 PM)

    Oh yeah, I like that poem. 'Do not go gently into that good night' is one of the best lines. This poem is very good.
    This poem, with its simple words, gives small poets like us hope because our poems dont look much different from this. I like poems that do that.
    You like that? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Chris Garcia (3/2/2005 7:54:00 AM)

    This is obviously a poem about death.

    Its very different in tone from Dylan Thomas' poem about the death of his father, telling to him to rage against death and 'not go gently into that good night'. This is a poem which doesn't seem to fear death, looking at it as the natural end of a day's hard work such a person woking a dairy farm might have. My favorite line is the one about the 'small tin bell' in which the author is kind of laughng at his own self importance. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 41 Points Percy Dovetonsils (1/29/2005 1:34:00 PM)

    Moving. Almost heartbreaking in its simplicity. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Willem Vanvoorthuysen (11/12/2004 12:35:00 PM)

    The beauty of simple everyday happenings, seen only by a sensitive soul... You have it, Ted.
    Bill (Report) Reply

Read all 12 comments »

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