Today's poem is by Marvin Bell

Elmer Rice's "The Adding Machine"

The staging of clerks in green visors
bent in sweatshops, penning columns
from high stools set at slanted tables
brings to mind — but I was going to say
the streets were as full of ragamuffins
as of top hats and walking sticks — and I
was intending to wedge into the time line
these lower case lives of eyestrain,
bad water and coal-fired air, even if
one can still picture the love stories
squeezed between the weary workdays —
and I was meant to remember our poor
fathers' past that they so wished forgotten —
but one will be bereft of art if one cannot
enter the great cathedrals without standing
on the backs of those who lifted the stones —
so I see now that I was fated to be a simple
interruption in the evolution of mankind
from survival of the fittest to lives of necessity,
and an art so artistic it can make one think
of nothing else — which is the core beauty
of the inner life, without which even Mozart
would have starved to death on applause.

Copyright © 2009 Marvin Bell All rights reserved
from Hubbub
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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