Thursday, February 13, 2014

The difficult music of your life

In case you don’t know the poet, Ted Kooser, I would like to introduce you to him.  He was born in Iowa and now lives in Nebraska.  Go to his official website;  Ted Kooser  If you like poetry you won’t be disappointed.  And if you think you don’t like poetry, you may be pleasantly surprised.  

The poem below is one that I love.  It is from his book, Delights and Shadows.  
Try to see the poem as  you read it. 

A Rainy Morning

A young woman in a wheelchair,
wearing a black nylon poncho spattered with rain,
is pushing herself through the morning.
You have seen how pianists
sometimes bend forward to strike the keys,
then lift their hands, draw back to rest,
then lean again to strike just as the chord fades.
Such is the way this woman
strikes at the wheels, then lifts her long white fingers,
letting them float, then bends again to strike
just as the chair slows, as if into a silence.
So expertly she plays the chords
of this difficult music she has mastered,
her wet face beautiful in its concentration,
while the wind turns the pages of rain.

—Ted Kooser

One sentence from the poem that lingers with me is this:   “So expertly she plays the chords/ of this difficult music she has mastered.”  The words, “difficult music” linger in my heart.  I am in awe of the courage of so many people (you may be among them) who are daily mastering the “difficult music” of their lives.   I am constantly amazed at the courage portrayed in people's lives.  That same courage is in each of us.  And so, to discover it!

Sometimes just sitting with a poem can be a prayer.  As you sit with this poem,  bring to your mind people you know who are struggling with the “difficult music” of their lives.


  1. I so love you insight into the poetry of life!

  2. Thank you so much for this post; it is just what I needed this morning. The cancer treatment of last year which cured me of cancer left my nerves damaged and consequently my legs (which in the past took me so many wonderful places) mostly useless. I so miss walking, running, hiking, doing things for myself. But most of the time I get through taking one day at a time and cherishing the blessings I have. It helps to think of this challenge as mastering "difficult music".
    Also, I LOVE Ted Kooser! I was fortunate to hear him read his poems at the Dodge Poetry Festival a number of years ago. Since that time I make it an annual tradition to read his book, Valentines every February.

    And, finally, thank you for the gift of your Self. Two of my favorite books that I read over and over are, A Tree Full of Angels and The Circle of Life.