Burgess Needle

Rookie (June 19,1941 / Boston, MA)

Square Water - Poem by Burgess Needle


When the bus collapsed on the road
To the capital
A man in blue opened the hood
And spit at the engine
While off to the side
Down a rough slope
Was a square cut body of water
Neutral and calm for all:
Water buffalo, children and dogs.
A radiantly happy girl is climbing out.
The buffalo gaze over at two men
In white pith helmets and black clothes
Who seem to be digging a hole.
A bicycle is parked between the children
And the men
The water is roiled by swimmers
Splashing in the brown liquid.
Bruegel should have been there
To mix the ordinary with something
Perhaps a boy with wings falling
Off in the distance.
That rapid movement might have caught
The eyes of the buffalo
But the men would have been too busy
Digging and the children would have been
Having too much fun to look up.
When the bus started I framed
A shot that included them all except
For the imaginary falling boy
Who only hit the water in my imagination.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, October 26, 2011

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