Weekly Poem: ‘At the Counters Ball’


By John Taggart

Last dance a waltz jazzed up slowed
down out of time real easy is in three played free
and so all the time in the world
last dance for the counters it’s the last dance at the counters ball
a waltz for the counters who’ve spent all their time counting
what’s lost like
things like favorite things not things
like time

after the ball is over back in their counting houses
the counters will be counting what’s lost

and all the counters are laughing because I asked Emily “do I repeat
myself” and she said “but very well” and they’re dancing
because they’ve lost count and
don’t care and because it’s the last
dance and I’m dancing
laughing and dancing with the oh so divine Miss Emily D.


John TaggartJohn Taggart was born in Perry, Iowa, on October 5, 1942. He is the author of 14 volumes of poetry. From 1969 to 2001, he taught in the English Department and directed the Interdisciplinary Arts Program at Shippensburg University. He has received a number of awards for his teaching and writing, among others the Commonwealth Award for Academic Service, the Chicago Review poetry prize and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. He lives in the Cumberland Valley of south-central Pennsylvania. Taggart’s new book of poems, “Is Music,” will be published in October by Copper Canyon Press.