Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday Poetry

William Blake - America, a Prophecy (1793)

My God, I loved this poem today when I read it on The Writer's Almanac:

Tuesday 9:00 AM

A man standing at the bus-stop

reading the newspaper is on fire
Flames are peeking out
from beneath his collar and cuffs
His shoes have begun to melt

The woman next to him
wants to mention it to him
that he is burning
but she is drowning
Water is everywhere
in her mouth and ears
in her eyes
A stream of water runs
steadily from her blouse

Another woman stands at the bus stop
freezing to death
She tries to stand near the man
who is on fire
to try to melt the icicles
that have formed on her eyelashes
and on her nostrils
to stop her teeth long enough
from chattering to say something
to the woman who is drowning
but the woman who is freezing to death
has trouble moving
with blocks of ice on her feet

It takes the three some time
to board the bus
what with the flames
and water and ice
But when they finally climb the stairs
and take their seats
the driver doesn't even notice
that none of them has paid
because he is tortured
by visions and is wondering
if the man who got off at the last stop
was really being mauled to death
by wild dogs.
--Denver Butson


  1. that is the perfect way to communicate EXACTLY the way it feels from the many different people's perspective!

  2. now just think of what could be happening NOW had they all felt they had permission to speak freely!

  3. this floors me. this is how we all walk around, fire tears ice and still we manage to get on the bus. dear god.

  4. You manage to find poems that sum up exactly what I am thinking but cannot find words for.

  5. I don't know why I ever forget about and need to be reminded about The Writer's Almanac. Thanks for getting it onto my frontal lobes and bookmarked with a star again.

  6. I know- the kind of poem that reminds us why we write. I read it several times throughout the day. I'd read it before but lost track of where and when and by who, so thank goodness for writer's almanac!

  7. Why can't I read this poem...lots of curly q's in the way of the words. For fear of sounding ignorant...is anyone else seeing them? Is it supposed to be obliterated by curly swirly things?

  8. I took this one with me into my day, yesterday. I don't want to ignore the people around me who are flaming out or drowning...



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