A light-footed Irish reel

American Life in Poetry

How about a light-footed Irish reel before winter sets in, before the rest of our lives sets in? Here’s a poem by Barbara Crooker, who lives in Pennsylvania. Her most recent collection of poems is “The Book of Kells” from Cascade Books, the winner of the Best Poetry Book of 2018 as judged by Poetry by the Sea.


Maybe night is about to come

calling, but right now

the sun is still high in the sky.

It’s half-past October, the woods

are on fire, blue skies stretch

all the way to heaven. Of course,

we know that winter is coming, its thin

winding sheets and its hard narrow bed.

But right now, the season’s fermented

to fullness, so slip into something

light, like your skeleton; while these old

bones are still working, my darling,

let’s dance.