Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tuesday Poem: "Suicide of a Moderate Dictator" by Elizabeth Bishop





This is a day when truths will out, perhaps;
leak from the dangling telephone earphones

sapping the festooned switchboards’ strength;

fall from the windows, blow from off the sills,

—the vague, slight unremarkable contents

of emptying ash-trays; rub off on our fingers

like ink from the un-proof-read newspapers,

crocking the way the unfocused photographs

of crooked faces do that soil our coats,

our tropical-weight coats, like slapped-at moths.


Today’s a day when those who work

are idling. Those who played must work

and hurry, too, to get it done,

with little dignity or none.

The newspapers are sold; the kiosk shutters

crash down. But anyway, in the night

the headlines wrote themselves, see, on the streets

and sidewalks everywhere; a sediment’s splashed

even to the first floors of apartment houses.


This is a day that’s beautiful as well,

and warm and clear. At seven o’clock I saw

the dogs being walked along the famous beach

as usual, in a shiny gray-green dawn,

leaving their paw prints draining in the wet.

The line of breakers was steady and the pinkish,

segmented rainbow steadily hung above it.

At eight two little boys were flying kites.


by Elizabeth Bishop


For more information about the poet, Elizabeth Bishop, see:




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