August 6, 2009

Hump Day Poetry: Carl Sandburg

Posted in Poetry at 3:09 pm by The Lizard Queen

I know; it’s Thursday.  But I felt moved to post a poem, and today might also be aptly called a hump day because I have crested the hump of the nasty cold Evil Bender and I picked up on our way back from Washington D.C.  (Two recommendations from said trip: one, go see the monuments at night—trust me; two, please don’t make your small, hyper children wait in line to see the Important Documents at the National Archives: they’re going to be bored out of their minds and are also likely to irritate people around them.)  Anyway—enjoy:

In a Breath

To the Williamson Brothers

High noon. White sun flashes on the Michigan Avenue asphalt. Drum of hoofs and whirr of motors. Women trapsing along in flimsy clothes catching play of sun-fire to their skin and eyes.

Inside the playhouse are movies from under the sea. From the heat of pavements and the dust of sidewalks, passers-by go in a breath to be witnesses of large cool sponges, large cool fishes, large cool valleys and ridges of coral spread silent in the soak of the ocean floor thousands of years.

A naked swimmer dives. A knife in his right hand shoots a streak at the throat of a shark. The tail of the shark lashes. One swing would kill the swimmer… Soon the knife goes into the soft underneck of the veering fish… Its mouthful of teeth, each tooth a dagger itself, set row on row, glistens when the shuddering, yawning cadaver is hauled up by the brothers of the swimmer.

Outside in the street is the murmur and singing of life in the sun—horses, motors, women trapsing along in flimsy clothes, play of sun-fire in their blood.

—Carl Sandburg


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