Click on the pictures to see enlarged versions of the images.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Manhole Covers

(Karl Shapiro, poet laureate, 1946-1947)


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.

~ Karl Shapiro (1913-2000), American poet

1 comment:

the old gentleman said...

...whelked? Not Lawrence, but what?