Monday, December 04, 2006

Working on the chain gang

To commemorate my last week, a poem by Theodore Roethke:

I have known the inexorable sadness of pencils,
Neat in their boxes, dolor of pad and paper-weight,

All the misery of manila folders and mucilage,

Desolation in immaculate public places,

Lonely reception room, lavatory, switchboard,

The unalterable pathos of basin and pitcher,

Ritual of multigraph, paper-clip, comma,

Endless duplication of lives and objects.

And I have seen dust from the walls of institutions,

Finer than flour, alive, more dangerous than silica,

Sift, almost invisible, through long afternoons of tedium,

Dropping a fine film on nails and delicate eyebrows,

Glazing the pale hair, the duplicate grey standard faces.
Not one of Roethke's very best poems, but good enough. And there's someone else I'm thinking of. You know who you are.

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