Ted Kooser’s “Sharpshooter,” a poem based on the painting by Winslow Homer

Ted Kooser

from “Four Civil War Paintings by Winslow Homer”

Sharpshooter

            A Union sniper in a tree

Some part of art is the art
of waiting – the chord
behind the tight fence
of a musical staff,
the sonnet shut in a book.
This is a painting of
waiting: the sharp crack
of the rifle still coiled
under the tiny
percussion cap, the cap
poised under the cocked
curl of the hammer,
and this young man among
the pine needles,
his finger as light as a breath
on the trigger,
just a pinpoint of light
in his one open eye,
like a star you might see
in broad daylight,
if you thought to look up.

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~ by samofthetenthousandthings on June 27, 2012.

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