Karl Shapiro Poems
|3.||I Am An Atheist Who Says His Prayers||1/8/2016|
|5.||Love For A Hand||4/16/2010|
|6.||The Dome Of Sunday||4/16/2010|
|9.||The Piano Tuner’s Wife||4/16/2010|
|11.||Sunday: New Guinea||4/16/2010|
|13.||The Conscientious Objector||4/16/2010|
|15.||Going To School||4/16/2010|
|16.||A Garden In Chicago||1/13/2003|
|17.||The Olive Tree||1/13/2003|
The beauty of manhole covers--what of that?
Like medals struck by a great savage khan,
Like Mayan calendar stones, unliftable, indecipherable,
Not like the old electrum, chased and scored,
Mottoed and sculptured to a turn,
But notched and whelked and pocked and smashed
With the great company names
(Gentle Bethlehem, smiling United States).
This rustproof artifact of my street,
Long after roads are melted away will lie
Sidewise in the grave of the iron-old world,
Bitten at the edges,
Strong with its cryptic American,
Its dated beauty.
Your landscape sickens with a dry disease
Even in May, Virginia, and your sweet pines
Like Frenchmen runted in a hundred wars
Are of a child’s height in these battlefields.
For Wilson sowed his teeth where generals prayed
—High-sounding Lafayette and sick-eyed Lee—
The loud Elizabethan crashed your swamps
Like elephants and the subtle Indian fell.