Weldon Kees

(1914 - 1955 / Nebraska / United States)

The Climate Of Danger - Poem by Weldon Kees

The middle is the place to stand
If there can be one solid spot,
Undoubted, in that damaged land.
Two schools exist; one says there is
No region lacking hazard, pain,
And fear; the other mentions plains
For those
Wanting more than the perfumed rose.

On one hand, birds and trained baboons
Polish the atmosphere with words
Like slate, rasping and grey. Their moons
Are sterile as their eyes, dull marbles,
Damp and cavern-caught. And evenings
Spread through days of easy grief:
The fall
Of all
Grins from a shaky pedestal.

And on the other, absolutes
Disguised as gods in masks of print
Poke into ruins and dispute
Arrival of the perished hour,
Past and dead—one they await
Hysterically, to penetrate,
And guide
With pride
To unexpected suicide.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010

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