William De Witt Snodgrass

(January 5, 1926 – January 13, 2009 / Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania)

Nightwatchman's Song


After Heinrich I. F. Biber

I

What’s unseen may not exist—
Or so those secret powers insist
That prowl past nightfall,
Enabled by the brain’s blacklist
To fester out of sight,

So we streak from bad to worse,
Through an expanding universe
And see no evil.
On my rounds like a night nurse
Or sentry on qui vive,

I make, through murkier hours, my way
Where the sun patrolled all day
Toward stone-blind midnight
To poke this flickering flashlamp’s ray
At what’s hushed up and hidden.

Lacking all leave or protocol,
Things, one by one, hear my footfall,
Blank out their faces,
Dodge between trees, find cracks in walls
Or lock down offices.

Still, though scuttling forces flee
Just as far stars recede from me
To outmost boundaries,
I stalk through ruins and debris,
Graveyard and underground.

Led by their helmetlantern’s light
Miners inch through anthracite;
I’m the unblinking mole
That sniffs out what gets lost or might
Slip down the world’s black hole.

II

(ending his rounds, the watchman, somewhat tipsy, returns)

What’s obscene?—just our obsessed,
Incessant itch and interest
In things found frightful:
In bestial tortures, rape, incest;
In ripe forbidden fruit

Dangling, lush, just out of reach;
Dim cellars nailed up under each
Towering success,
The loser’s envy that will teach
A fierce vindictiveness,

The victors’ high court that insures
Pardon for winners and procures
Little that’s needed
But all we lust for. What endures?—
Exponential greed

And trash containers overflowing
With shredded memos, records showing
What, who, when, why
’Til there’s no sure way of knowing
What’s clear to every eye:

The heart’s delight in hatred, runny
As the gold drip from combs of honey;
The rectal intercourse
Of power politics and money
That slimes both goal and source.

What’s obscured?—what’s abscessed.
After inspection, I’d suggest
It’s time we got our head
Rewired. I plan to just get pissed,
Shitfaced and brain-dead.

Submitted: Tuesday, January 03, 2012

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

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 (Nightwatchman's Song by William De Witt Snodgrass )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  2. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  5. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  6. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  7. If, Rudyard Kipling
  8. No Man Is An Island, John Donne
  9. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  10. Dreams, Langston Hughes

Poem of the Day

poet Percy Bysshe Shelley

O World! O Life! O Time!
On whose last steps I climb,
Trembling at that where I had stood before;
When will return the glory of your prime?
No more -Oh, never more!

...... Read complete »

   

New Poems

  1. Queen Patrenialla - Part Three Continued, QueenPatrenia Turner, Royalt ..
  2. con man, lee fones
  3. I love Winter, but it's cruel احب الشتاء.., MOHAMMAD SKATI
  4. And so we go on, Gina Borrebach
  5. Baby if this is love, Dorsey Baker
  6. Queen Patrenialla - Part 2 Continued, QueenPatrenia Turner, Royalt ..
  7. Mayling, Arno Le Roux
  8. Naming Our Wall, Arno Le Roux
  9. Oh Beautiful Arkansas, Dorsey Baker
  10. Those one thousand miles, MOHAMMAD SKATI
[Hata Bildir]