Elizabeth Bishop

(8 February 1911 – 6 October 1979 / Worcester, Massachusetts)

Filling Station - Poem by Elizabeth Bishop

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:
ESSO--SO--SO--SO

to high-strung automobiles.
Somebody loves us all.


Comments about Filling Station by Elizabeth Bishop

  • (1/29/2014 6:04:00 PM)


    .......it's nice to find beauty when you least expect to... (Report) Reply

    6 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • (3/27/2011 8:11:00 AM)


    The touch of beauty catches her eye and her heart and the poem gets written! (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »



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Read poems about / on: dog, family, father, son, water



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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