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Bruce Dethlefsen

after my reading
a very serious sixth grade girl
asked me if I was wealthy
well I said I have twenty-two
dollars in my wallet right now
my purple truck has two hundred
and thirty-five thousand miles on it
I’m wearing clean and mended clothes
I’ll sleep in a warm bed tonight
I’ve got my health my hands my eyes
my family and friends who love me
and I can come here to Sennett middle school
to read poetry to you guys for free
so yes I’m very wealthy
wealthy indeed
From Unexpected Shiny Things (Cowfeather Press, 2011).
Used with the author’s permission.


Bruce Dethlefsen is the author of five books and was Wisconsin’s Poet Laureate from 2011-2012. He plays drums and harmonica in the Prairie Sands Band and runs Poet Camp twice a year. Bruce volunteers writing poetry in prisons and lives in Westfield, Wisconsin. Learn more about him at

Post New Comment:
wonderful poem especially for these trying times. appreciate what you have. look around as your cup runeth over :)
Posted 11/20/2012 04:30 PM
i wish all of you who haven't heard bruce READ this poem, could hear him! though, after his myriad travels here and yon, maybe he's got us all covered!
Posted 11/20/2012 03:37 PM
There is no wealth greater than that... beautifully expressed. Thank you, Judy
Posted 11/20/2012 11:41 AM
The cup runneth over. Beautiful.
Posted 11/20/2012 10:54 AM
Larry Schug:
We're all as rich as the one per cent; we just won't admit it. Thanks for a fine poetic reminder.
Posted 11/20/2012 10:51 AM
Thanks for the boost, Bruce. Yes, that is a blessing we can count.
Posted 11/20/2012 10:00 AM
I find this a 'tug on the sleeve' to get involved with the poets in the schools. Thanks.
Posted 11/20/2012 09:15 AM
Marilyn L Taylor:
Thus poem speaks to all of us, Bruce. And it's absolutely perfect for Thanksgiving, isn't it?
Posted 11/20/2012 08:43 AM
beautiful, Bruce, and Happy Big Bird Day! ~Sharon
Posted 11/20/2012 08:14 AM
Gary Busha:
An extended definition of wealth. Wealth, by examples.
Posted 11/20/2012 08:09 AM
ed werstein:
Excellent poem. Thanks, Bruce. Ed
Posted 11/20/2012 06:57 AM
"wealthy indeed"--yes. Thanks for reminding us, Bruce.
Posted 11/20/2012 06:44 AM
I am tempted to shout "Hear! Hear!"
Posted 11/20/2012 06:30 AM
Janet Leahy:
And we are all wealthy having Bruce as poet laureate of Wisconsin, thanks Bruce this poem is one of my favorites.
Posted 11/20/2012 06:18 AM

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