Pulitzer Poetry 100

Pulitzer Poetry 100

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The weather came over this low knoll, west to east, before there was a word for leaf-fall, before there were any leaves. Weathers will nuzzle and preen whatever earthwork we leave here. And we know now, don’t we, that we will be leaving, by fire or ice, our own or His, or at the very worst, nobody’s. May that be a long time off. Now, it is our hill for debating. The dome at the top of the hill, heavy with reference, is iron out of the soil, yearned up as if it were white stone, the way for a time our thought and rhetoric yearned upward. Here our surrogates sit. It is almost too much for them, some days, to make the world go around. They are urged to clean it, to sully it more grandly, To let…


Alien-faced patriot in my father’s mirrored aviators that reflected a mind full of cloud keloids, the contrails of Blue Angels in formation miles above the campered fields of Willow Grove where I heard them clear as construction paper slowly tearing as they plumbed close enough I could nearly see flyboys saluting the tiny flag I shook in their wakes. I visored back with pride, sitting aloft dad’s shoulders, my salute a reflex ebbing toward ground crews in jumpsuits executing orchestral movements with light....…


The leaves, though little time they have to live, Were never so unfallen as today, And seem to yield us through a rustled sieve The very light from which time fell away.…


Moving from left to left, the light is heavy on the Dome, and coarse. One small lunette turns it aside and blankly stares off to the side like a big white old wall-eyed horse. On the east steps the Air Force Band in uniforms of Air Force blue is playing hard and loud, but – queer – The music doesn’t quite come through.…


...A kind of religion to make sense of a past mysterious as basements with upholstered wet bars and black-light velvet panthers, maybe, but as such a youngster I thought every American a Philadelphia Negro, blue-eyed soulsters and southpaws alike getting strong now, mounting the art museum steps together like children swept up in Elton’s freedom from Fern Rock to Veterans Stadium, endorphins clanging like liberty- themed tourist trolleys unloading outside the Penn Relays, a temporal echo, an offspring, of Mexico City where Tommie Smith and John Carlos made a human kinara with the human rights salute while my father scaled the Summit Avenue street sign at the edge of his lawn holding a bomb p…


II. PATRIOTS' DAY (Wellesley, Massachusetts) Restless that noble day, appeased by soft Drinks and tobacco, littering the grass While the flag snapped and brightened far aloft, We waited for the marathon to pass, We fathers and our little sons, let out Of school and office to be put to shame. Now from the street-side someone raised a shout, And into view the first small runners came.…


This is the soldier home from the war. These are the years and the walls and the door that shut on a boy that pats the floor to see if the world is round or flat. this is a Jew in a newspaper hat that dances carefully down the ward, walking the plank of a coffin board with the crazy sailor that shows his watch that tells the time of the wretched man that lies in the house of Bedlam.…


I The bronze General Grant riding a bronze horse in Lincoln park Shrivels in the sun by day when the motor cars whirr by in the long processions going somewhere to keep ap- pointment for dinner and matinees and buying and selling Though in the dusk and nightfall when high waves are piling On the slabs of the promenade along the lake shore near by I have seen the general dare the combers come closer And make to ride his bronze horse out into the hoofs and guns of the storm. II I cross Lincoln Park on a winter night when the snow is falling. Lincoln in bronze stands among the white lines of snow, his bronze forehead meeting soft echoes of the new- sies crying forty thousand men are dead long t…


Back then, before we came To this calm bay and savage oceanside, When Bedloes Island had no English name, The waves were but the subjects of the tide And vassals of the harnessed wind, which blew Not as it chose, but as it had to do.…


At night the factories struggle awake, wretched uneasy buildings veined with pipes attempt their work. Trying to breathe, the elongated nostrils haired with spikes give off such stenches, too. And I shall sell you sell you sell you of course, my dear, and you’ll sell me.…

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