Philip Levine

(January 10, 1928 / Detroit, Michigan)

At Bessemer


19 years old and going nowhere,
I got a ride to Bessemer and walked
the night road toward Birmingham
passing dark groups of men cursing
the end of a week like every week.
Out of town I found a small grove
of trees, high narrow pines, and I
sat back against the trunk of one
as the first rains began slowly.
South, the lights of Bessemer glowed
as though a new sun rose there,
but it was midnight and another shift
tooled the rolling mills. I must
have slept awhile, for someone
else was there beside me. I could
see a cigarette's soft light,
and once a hand grazed mine, man
or woman's I never knew. Slowly
I could feel the darkness fill
my eyes and the dream that came was
of a bright world where sunlight
fell on the long even rows of houses
and I looked down from great height
at a burned world I believed
I never had to enter. When
the true sun rose I was stiff
and wet, and there beside me was
the small white proof that someone
rolled and smoked and left me there
unharmed, truly untouched.
A hundred yards off I could hear
cars on the highway. A life
was calling to be lived, but how
and why I had still to learn.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Related Poems


Read poems about / on: rose, woman, sun, dream, world, dark, light, night, car, women, believe, tree, sleep

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (At Bessemer by Philip Levine )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley

PoemHunter.com Updates

Poem of the Day

poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Young Love lies sleeping
In May-time of the year,
Among the lilies,
Lapped in the tender light:
White lambs come grazing,
White doves come building there:
...... Read complete »

   

Member Poem

[Hata Bildir]