05 March 2010

Edward Dorn

[from Edward Dorn's Way More West, Penguin, 2007]

Like a Message on Sunday

the forlorn plumber
by the river
with his daughter
       staring at the water
then, at her
his daughter closely.

Once World, he came
to our house to fix the stove
                     and couldn't
   oh, we were arrogant and talked
about him in the next room, doesn't
a man know what he is doing?

Can't it be done right,
            World of iron thorns.
Now they sit by the meagre river
by the water . . . stare
into that plumber
so that I can see a daughter in the water
she thin and silent
he wearing a baseball cap
       in a celebrating town this summer season
may they live on

on, may their failure be kindly, and come
in small pieces.


  1. really love use of the white space in this poem, especially while i actually need a real plumber...

  2. Bill Bebout22:39

    I came to this poem through a reference to it in
    ("Jack Kerouac Selected Letters 1957 - 1965") Page 325 He called it one of the most mysterious, yet clearest poems in the world.

    I'm thankful for his mention of it.
    I can now start looking for more Dorn, which is so much easier now that the web exists.