'Who has the courage to look out to the east again at someone else's sun?'

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"How do I know what I think until I see what I say?" has been attributed to a half dozen different writers. It can be helpful in encouraging people to write, but also in describing poetry that arises out of meditation. Greg Kosmicki is a Nebraska poet whose work is deeply thoughtful but also cordial and conversational. Here's an example from his new book It's as Good Here as it Gets Anywhere, from Logan House Press.
 
 
 

YOU NEVER GET ONE THING

by Greg Kosmicki
 
This notebook is so old the paper is yellow.
I wonder where the tree grew.
 
Seems like you never get one thing without losing another.
There's some sort of law about that
to do with finite resources.
 
Somewhere some guys have figured out to the exact ounce
how much my life has cost the earth,
how many people have died that I might live.
 
Start with my parents, and theirs, and all who died
because of them. It's like we drip in blood.
Who can wake up then tomorrow morning,
do the tasks set out before them
as if it was their work and their work only?
Who has the courage to look out to the east again
at someone else's sun?


American Life in Poetry is made possible by the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Poem copyright © 2016 by Greg Kosmicki from It's as Good Here as it Gets Anywhere, Logan House Press, 2016. Poem reprinted by permission of Greg Kosmicki and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2018 by the Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-06.

 

 

 

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Comments

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Dominic James

Tue 20th Feb 2018 19:02

yes Greg, I suppose it must be.
A new day. Well, in a new season, a new year certainly, in these I can appreciate the new batch, the next year's batch, but the turnaround of days I find I am inclined to think of as my own. Okay, I can keep up. Thanks!

& perhaps this raises MC's point on sacrifice, that it is right not to look East, again, at someone else's sun.

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Greg Freeman

Tue 20th Feb 2018 08:40

I took that last line as about ageing, and mortality, Dom.

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Dominic James

Mon 19th Feb 2018 21:32

I don't get the last line, I'll have to give it a think, but I like that Julian, the poem does seem to be speaking directly to me. okay Kosmicki, watch that man.

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Julian (Admin)

Sat 17th Feb 2018 09:39

I agree, M.C. I hope this doesn't sound pretentious, but these words seem to be speaking directly to me. The mark of a good poem, or at least of good writing? It seems to me to start rather like a haiku in getting to the essence of its purpose quickly. Superb.

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M.C. Newberry

Wed 14th Feb 2018 17:29

Rewarding for its thoughtful insight into the human condition and the generational sacrifices that see us come
- and go.

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