UTenn Poet

Marilyn Kallet, our Creative Writing Program Director at UTenn, has had a poem selected by Ted Kooser for his American Life in Poetry column. I've included the poem below, and you should also click here to read what Ted Kooser has to say about the poem. Enjoy!


In the dry summer field at nightfall,
fireflies rise like sparks.
Imagine the presence of ghosts
flickering, the ghosts of young friends,
your father nearest in the distance.
This time they carry no sorrow,
no remorse, their presence is so light.
Childhood comes to you,
memories of your street in lamplight,
holding those last moments before bed,
capturing lightning-bugs,
with a blossom of the hand
letting them go. Lightness returns,
an airy motion over the ground
you remember from Ring Around the Rosie.
If you stay, the fireflies become fireflies
again, not part of your stories,
as unaware of you as sleep, being
beautiful and quiet all around you.

Marilyn Kallet
from Packing Light: New and Selected Poems

Three more poems by Marilyn Kallet, from her Darwin series:
"Eating the New Species"
"My Dear Emma"