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Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 12:01 am

Abraham Lincoln walks in the morning

 meeting mr lincoln

here in springfield
that is to say the one in illinois
not a massachusetts town
on the eastern seaboard
no the one in illinois
where vachel lindsay imagined
the president walked at midnight

well he does as I can witness
only a week ago as I remember
yes early in april – I met him
on sixth street just to the south
where the old capitol is
it was in the morning though

will mrs lincoln be having
her strawberry levee soon
I said just to say something

he said why yes but you know
you have to wait on the season
yes you have to know
where the strawberries are growing
and when it is time for picking them

yes he said thoughtfully
you have to know when they are ready
and when they are not

I wished him the best of times
this one moment and forever
he touched the brim of his hat then
and said goodbye with a smile

I thought he might be going
for a roll call or a vote
sequestered in the capitol senate
or perhaps to tell country stories
all afternoon in his law office

but when I turned to wave
goodbye to this great man
I knew would be president one day
no one walked the streets
that cold morning in springfield

About the author

John Knoepfle is the author of 17 books of poetry, as well as an autobiography and other prose works. His most recent book, Shadows and Starlight, was published by Indian Paintbrush Poets in 2012. Currently, he likes to begin the day by striking lines on his fractious computer. These sometimes become poems. He is a professor emeritus of literature at University of Illinois Springfield. His awards include the 2012 Mayor’s Award for the Arts, given by the Springfield Area Arts Council.

A Pacific theater veteran of World War II, Knoepfle began writing in the 1940s. His poetry focuses on what he sees around him in the Midwest. He favors the poetry of ordinary speech, storytelling and local history. He regularly attends Illinois State Museum lectures on archaeology and history. At 91, he is preoccupied with being 91 and writes about this.

Knoepfle has four children and four grandchildren and lives with his wife, Peggy, in the village of Jerome. 

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