When I was a little boy, younger than five I’m sure, I was frequently an early riser in the morning getting up before everyone else. Alone in the cold mornings, I would walk all over the house on tiptoe – I have very distinct memories of this but no explanation for you.
Poet Ted Kooser knows all about it:
Walking on Tiptoe
Long ago we quit lifting our heels
like the others – horse, dog, and tiger-
though we thrill to their speed
as they flee. Even the mouse
bearing the great weight of a nugget
of dog food is enviably graceful.
There is little spring to our walk,
we are so burdened with responsibility,
all of the disciplinary actions
that have fallen to us, the punishments,
the killings, and all with our feet
bound stiff in the skins of the conquered.
But sometimes, in the early hours,
we can feel what it must have been like
to be one of them, up on our toes,
stealing past doors where others are sleeping,
and suddenly be able to see in the dark.
From: Delights & Shadows, Copper Canyon Press, Copyright 2004
Poetry of Ted Kooser, Poet Laureate of the United States
Photo Credit: Craig Hunter Parker http://www.pinterest.com/envyart/polaroid-transfer-and-other-dreamy-styles/
That’s a pretty cool poem! Walking on tiptoe is actually good exercise……….
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I was talking with a poet friend of my today about this poem, and he thought it was (particularly with my intro) a “creepy” poem. Maybe. But definitely it gets under your skin somehow. Kooser is an interesting poet. I’m sure a lot of high-brows don’t think much of him. He spent his working years as an insurance executive.
When I first started reading him, I too, on some level (actually kind of a superficial level) discounted him as a midwestern type; talented, but kind of a Prairie-Home-Companion dude with soul. After hanging around his poetry for awhile though, and maybe getting a little more mature (nah, just older!) I have a renewed interest in his style and his message. There’s more than I originally thought.
This poem has some juice, for sure.