Manhole Covers Poem by Karl Shapiro

Manhole Covers

Rating: 3.2

The beauty of manhole covers--what of that?
Like medals struck by a great savage khan,
Like Mayan calendar stones, unliftable, indecipherable,
Not like the old electrum, chased and scored,
Mottoed and sculptured to a turn,
But notched and whelked and pocked and smashed
With the great company names
(Gentle Bethlehem, smiling United States).
This rustproof artifact of my street,
Long after roads are melted away will lie
Sidewise in the grave of the iron-old world,
Bitten at the edges,
Strong with its cryptic American,
Its dated beauty.

Sidi Mahtrow 05 April 2012

It lies there Surrounded by metal, as its own Encased in concrete Long hardened and dark with age. But below, A hidden kingdom Where elves play Emitting foul aromas That keep mankind away. And in these dark recesses Lurks a time capsule of the past When man walked upright And shouldered his burdens But, alas, no more. The manhole cover, Covers. s

8 3 Reply
Erhard Hans Josef Lang 29 July 2006 me some new picture of these, by name so expressedly, united States of America

1 7 Reply
Margaret Mitchell 17 June 2016

This goes to your irksome tenant as a SCOLD when you dare.

0 1 Reply
Smoky Hoss 11 January 2016

Immortality gained in the most unlikely place, by ones who never sought it, the manhole cover makers. Amazing.

4 0 Reply
Susan Williams 11 January 2016

It is good that we can find beauty in the functional because 80% of our manmade surroundings are functional and not creations of pure art

32 0 Reply
Daniel Y. 09 April 2014

A beautiful poem, full of wit and style. It's similar to some that I've done. Check out my poems Tissues and The Couch

1 0 Reply
Tim Stensloff 05 April 2012

This is such an excellent back-handed compliment.

8 3 Reply
Karl Shapiro

Karl Shapiro

Baltimore, Maryland
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