Camera at the crossing sees the city
a street of wooden walls and empty windows,
the doors shut handless in the empty street,
and the deserted Negro standing on the corner.
The little boy runs with his dog
up the street to the bridge over the river where
nine men are mending road for the government.
He blurs the camera-glass fixed on the street.
Railway tracks here and many panes of glass
tin under light, the grey shine of towns and forests:
in the commercial hotel (Switzerland of America)
the owner is keeping his books behind the public glass.
Postoffice window, a hove of private boxes,
the hand of the man who withdraws, the woman who
reaches her hand
and the tall coughing man stamping an envelope.
The bus station and the great pale buses stopping for
April-glass-tinted, the yellow-aproned waitress;
coast-to-coast schedule on the plateglass window.
The man on the street and the camera eye:
he leaves the doctor’s office, slammed door, doom,
any town looks like this one-street town.
Glass, wood, and naked eye: the movie-house
closed for the afternoon frames posters streaked with
advertise “Racing Luck” and “Hitch-Hike Lady”.
Whistling, the train comes from a long way away,
slow, and the Negro watches it grow in the gray air,
the hotel man makes a note behind his potted palm.
Eyes of the tourist house, red-and-white filing station,
the eyes of the Negro, looking down the track,
hotel-man and hotel, cafeteria, camera.
And in the beerplace on the other sidewalk
always one’s harsh night eyes over the beerglass
follow the waitress and the yellow apron.
The road flows over the bridge,
Gamoca pointer at the underpass,
opposite, Alloy, after a block of town.
What do you want – a cliff over a city?
A foreland, sloped to sea and overgrown with roses?
These people live here.
Muriel Rukeyser's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Gauley Bridge by Muriel Rukeyser )
- King and Queen of Hearts, Philo Yan
- How can you rehabilitate us, Aftab Alam
- All Over, Edward Kofi Louis
- Haram II, Edward Kofi Louis
- Pick-Ups!, Edward Kofi Louis
- AK-47, Edward Kofi Louis
- Poem for Dwayne, Jenny Santiago
- Raschid, Edward Kofi Louis
- Cupcake capers, Roann Mendriq
- Dschamila, Edward Kofi Louis
Poem of the Day
- 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
- At Last She Comes, Robert Louis Stevenson
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
- Heather Burns
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)