Literature 3-12-2007

What Light: This Week’s Poem: Todd Pederson

"What Light: This Week's Poem," sponsored by Magers and Quinn Booksellers, brings you a poem every week by a Minnesota poet, selected by a panel of writers and publishers. The What Light anthology will be out soon! Look for it . . .

Todd Pederson

Churchyard, Crossed Pines

                 Population 268

Where these trees clasp each green star
like disappointments, the iron mutter
                of far-off trains slips through

our churchyard, whose monuments
                & testimony
       open like a Bible-page of i’s & t’s.

I dot & cross myself, & as the trees
               or passing trains,
let my shadow—this reaching heart’s
       restless attentions—be,

& edge beyond the headstones & hereafters—
               the yardgate’s hook
& fasten—to a crossroads lamp
       considering its unhurried street.

Eyes all-at-once
open in our going-home hour—glad for this night
               sky’s increasing bruise
& twilight where it pours
        into my alley’s yawn.

                & blessed
in south Missouri; where my Sunday TV shows
        are on, & our porch lights hum till dawn.


For me, poetry is the response to what are often simple, yet commanding, occurrences—such as an affecting scene from a favorite movie. The most gratifying ideas are those that increase and reach, inexplicably, for one or more seemingly disparate elements of my life and draw them into the piece. In these moments, poetry surpasses a string of lines and stanzas written on a page; poetry becomes the medium through which I (perhaps, we) celebrate this life’s great joys, and overcome its disappointments.


Todd Pederson is a 2005 graduate of the Master of Business Communication program at St. Thomas University, and holds an undergraduate degree in Microbiology from the University of Minnesota. He works as a technical writer for a biomedical corporation in Chaska and resides in Eden Prairie with his wife and two children, whom he thanks for their patience and inspiration. Recent works appear in Summit Avenue Review.