Searching For Pittsburgh
The fox pushes softly, blindly through me at night,
between the liver and the stomach. Comes to the heart
and hesitates. Considers and then goes around it.
Trying to escape the mildness of our violent world.
Goes deeper, searching for what remains of Pittsburgh
in me. The rusting mills sprawled gigantically
along three rivers. The authority of them.
The gritty alleys where we played every evening were
stained pink by the inferno always surging in the sky,
as though Christ and the Father were still fashioning the Earth.
Locomotives driving through the cold rain,
lordly and bestial in their strength. Massive water
flowing morning and night throughout a city
girded with ninety bridges. Sumptuous-shouldered,
sleek-thighed, obstinate and majestic, unquenchable.
All grip and flood, mighty sucking and deep-rooted grace.
A city of brick and tired wood. Ox and sovereign spirit.
Primitive Pittsburgh. Winter month after month telling
of death. The beauty forcing us as much as harshness.
Our spirits forged in that wilderness, our minds forged
by the heart. Making together a consequence of America.
The fox watched me build my Pittsburgh again and again.
In Paris afternoons on Buttes-Chaumont. On Greek islands
with their fields of stone. In beds with women, sometimes,
amid their gentleness. Now the fox will live in our ruined
house. My tomatoes grow ripe among weeds and the sound
of water. In this happy place my serious heart has made.
Submitted by Joe Shields
Jack Gilbert's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Searching For Pittsburgh by Jack Gilbert )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- Alone, Edgar Allan Poe
- Christmas Trees, Robert Frost
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
- Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
- A Visit from St. Nicholas, Clement Clarke Moore
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- If, Rudyard Kipling
Poem of the Day
- Silent Nature, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- Sorry, Sorry, Sorry To Say That, Pijush Biswas
- Let Me Stand Here, gajanan mishra
- Quack, Quack says the Duck, Kumarmani Mahakul
- Another Christmas (without you), Marites C. Cayetano
- What Is Life, Kumarmani Mahakul
- Open Door, Natalie Nicole Story
- Savages, Sally Matthews
- The Afterthought, Dankaro Osazee
- In a Gallery of Birds, Salvatore Ala