American Life in Poetry -
Published Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 1:00 am / Updated at 1:28 pm
American Life in Poetry

Nebraska’s Ted Kooser, U.S. poet laureate from 2004 to 2006, offers “American Life in Poetry,” a column on contemporary poetry.

Here’s a poem for this season by Tim Nolan of Minnesota. Once we begin to be thankful for things, there are more and more things to be thankful for.


Thanks for the Italian chestnuts — with their

tough shells — the smooth chocolaty

skin of them — thanks for the boiling water —

itself a miracle and a mystery —

thanks for the seasoned sauce pan

and the old wooden spoon — and all

the neglected instruments in the drawer —

the garlic crusher — the bent paring knife —

the apple slicer that creates six

perfect wedges out of the crisp Haralson —

thanks for the humming radio — thanks

for the program on the radio

about the guy who was a cross-dresser —

but his wife forgave him — and he

ended up almost dying from leukemia —

(and you could tell his wife loved him

entirely — it was in her deliberate voice) —

thanks for the brined turkey —

the size of a big baby — thanks—

for the departed head of the turkey —

the present neck — the giblets

(whatever they are) — wrapped up as

small gifts inside the cavern of the ribs —

thanks — thanks — thanks — for the candles

lit on the table — the dried twigs —

the autumn leaves in the blue Chinese vase —

thanks — for the faces — our faces — in this low light.

Poem copyright ©2012 by Tim Nolan, from his most recent book of poems, “And Then,” New Rivers Press, 2012. Poem reprinted by permission of Tim Nolan and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2012 by The Poetry Foundation.

Omaha woman, 30, battling breast cancer for third time
For World Book Night, some Omahans prepare to hand out free reads
Annie, My 12-year-old grandson insists on sleeping with Grannie
Primer: Hand-brewing coffee at home
Archives: So many wonderful old Omaha photos
Earth Day: A change in habits can help the planet
‘Wonder Bread Years’: Tickets on sale now for salute to baby boomer generation
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium going greener
Annie Mailbox: My daughter will quit smoking if I lose weight
Win a Mommy Makeover!
Why two hotshots ditched six-figure salaries for a life of less
Jeff Corwin hopes to build connection with nature at Nebraska Science Festival
Annie, when that girl's hitting the bottle, look out
Blair High senior shows his love of pi by memorizing 1,381 digits
Jon Stewart might be real king of late night
'Tis soon Talk Like Shakespeare Day; hence be mirthful!
Can't find your pet? Social media is there to help
Easter Sunday temperatures climb into 80s in Omaha area
From fashion to baskets, a guide to the latest Easter trends
Families from area shelters treated to meal at Old Chicago
Mizzou alumni aim to attract veterinary students to Henry Doorly Zoo
This Friday, celebrate Arbor Day where it all began
Annie, my boyfriend of 3 years won't invite me to his mobile home
Kooser: 'American Life in Poetry' (April 20)
Swoosie’s voice a joy in memoir of stage, family
< >
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Tokyo Sushi
$5 for $10 or $10 for $20 toward All-You-Can-Eat Sushi Purchase
Buy Now
Jump to a blog:
< >
We Love Weddings blog
W.E. Love Weddings is about everything Omaha and everything weddings by the editors of Wedding Essentials Magazine.
Weddings and engagements
Share your exciting news with your community by placing an announcement today.
Inspired Home Omaha magazine
Sign up today to get the latest edition of Omaha's best magazine for local living, home entertainment, fashion and travel!
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »