Today's poem is by Stephen Dunn
The Crowd at the Gates
The crowd had gathered by the gates.
Like most crowds, it was more shifty
than intelligent, on the verge
of dangerous. At times it undulated
like gelatin, at others its movements
were barely perceptible, as if it were
waiting for some kind of permission.
A crowd, the gates knew, was a tsunami
in the making. Which is why the gates
were needed - big, stolid, iron gates
clear about their mission. The crowd
had gathered by them, and the gates
feared someone would make a speech.
The gates always feared the articulate
appeal to a collective deprivation.
The gates had experience. They knew
that after such speeches, crowds lack
a sense of humor, which can diffuse
misery, make a crowd break up.
Behind the gates was the stronghold,
in which the deciders made their decisions.
The gates would try to protect them,
as ever. The crowd was getting larger,
swaying now. Someone began to speak,
and for a moment the gates wondered:
If it were possible for us to be moved,
might we, too, be outraged, want to open
ourselves wide, and say, Get them?
Copyright © 2011 Stephen Dunn All rights reserved
from Green Mountains Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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