...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

March 23, 2005

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

Elizabeth Bishop is one of America's best loved poets. i think her work is like a watercolor painting: simple, easy, but so deceptively intricate. The closer you look, the more her genius reveals itself.

Since everybody's grumbling these days about gas prices, i thought i'd select a nostalgic poem that takes us back to the days when gas was cheap, Exxon was Esso, and full service was the rule.

Filling Station

Oh, but it is dirty!
--this little filling station,
oil-soaked, oil-permeated
to a disturbing, over-all
black translucency.
Be careful with that match!

Father wears a dirty,
oil-soaked monkey suit
that cuts him under the arms,
and several quick and saucy
and greasy sons assist him
(it's a family filling station),
all quite thoroughly dirty.

Do they live in the station?
It has a cement porch
behind the pumps, and on it
a set of crushed and grease-
impregnated wickerwork;
on the wicker sofa
a dirty dog, quite comfy.

Some comic books provide
the only note of color--
of certain color. They lie
upon a big dim doily
draping a taboret
(part of the set), beside
a big hirsute begonia.

Why the extraneous plant?
Why the taboret?
Why, oh why, the doily?
(Embroidered in daisy stitch
with marguerites, I think,
and heavy with gray crochet.)

Somebody embroidered the doily.
Somebody waters the plant,
or oils it, maybe. Somebody
arranges the rows of cans
so that they softly say:

to high-strung automobiles.
Somebody loves us all.

This being poetry Wednesday, let me also refer you to Ginger, who has something nice, and also to Jeff, who has something silly.

Posted by annika, Mar. 23, 2005 |
Rubric: Poetry