ColemanColeman Barks, who lives in Georgia, is not only the English language’s foremost translator of the poems of the 13th century poet, Rumi, but he’s also a loving grandfather, and for me that’s even more important. His poems about his granddaughter, Briny, are brim full of joy. Here’s one:


Glad


In the glory of the gloaming-green soccer

field her team, the Gladiators, is losing


ten to zip. She never loses interest in

the roughhouse one-on-one that comes


every half a minute. She sticks her leg

in danger and comes out the other side running.


Later a clump of opponents on the street is chant-

ing, WE WON, WE WON, WE . . . She stands up


on the convertible seat holding to the wind-

shield. WE LOST, WE LOST BIGTIME, TEN TO


NOTHING, WE LOST, WE LOST. Fist pumping

air. The other team quiet, abashed, chastened.


Good losers don’t laugh last; they laugh

continuously, all the way home so glad.


Note: American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c)2001 by Coleman Barks, from his book of poems, “Winter Sky: New and Selected Poems, 1968-2008,” University of Georgia Press, 2008, and reprinted by permission of Coleman Barks and the publisher. Introduction copyright (c)2009 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 2004-2006.  We do not accept unsolicited poetry manuscripts.

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Ted Kooser

Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.