David Wagoner

(5 June 1926 / Massillon, Ohio)

Wallace Stevens On His Way To Work


He would leave early and walk slowly      As if balancing books         & nbsp; On the way to school, already expecting To be tardy once again and heavy      With numbers, the unfashionably rounded         & nbsp; Toes of his shoes invisible beyond The slope of his corporation. He would pause      At his favorite fundamentally sound         & nbsp; Park bench, which had been the birthplace Of paeans and ruminations on other mornings,      And would turn his back to it, having gauged the distance         & nbsp; Between his knees and the edge of the hardwood Almost invariably unoccupied      At this enlightened hour by the bums of nighttime         & nbsp; (For whom the owlish eye of the moon Had been closed by daylight), and would give himself wholly over      Backwards and trustingly downwards         & nbsp; And be well seated there. He would remove From his sinister jacket pocket a postcard      And touch it and retouch it with the point         & nbsp; Of the fountain he produced at his fingertips And fill it with his never-before-uttered      Runes and obbligatos and pellucidly cryptic         & nbsp; Duets from private pageants, from broken ends Of fandangos with the amoeba chaos chaos      Couchant and rampant. Then he would rise         & nbsp; With an effort as heartfelt as a decision To get out of bed on Sunday and carefully      Relocate his center of gravity         & nbsp; Above and beyond an imaginary axis Between his feet and carry the good news      Along the path and the sidewalk, well on his way         & nbsp; To readjusting the business of the earth.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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