Thursday, February 16, 2012

Poet's Corner

-Walker Evans, 1936, Vicksburg Mississippi.

Here’s another helping of poetry for the poetically-impaired. I came across this one on the Writer’s Almanac podcast. As it says in the one line intro of the poem, it’s based on a Walker Evans photograph, which we’ve dug up and displayed above. Pretty cool to see the poet’s inspiration and final product side by side. What do you think?

Hitchhikers
By Charles Simic

After the Walker Evans photograph from the thirties

Hard times brought them out early
On this dreary stretch of road
Carrying a suitcase and a bedroll
With a frying pan tied to it,
The kind you use over a campfire
When a moss-covered log is your pillow.

He's hopeful and she's ashamed
To be asking a stranger to take them
Away from here in a cloud of flying
Gravel and dust, past leafless trees
With their snarled and pointy little twigs.
A man and a woman catching a ride
To where water tastes like cherry wine.

She'll work as a maid or a waitress,
He'll pump gas or rob banks.
They'll buy a car as big as a hearse
To make their fast getaway,
Not forgetting to stop for you, mister,
If you are down on your luck yourself.

This is from Simic’s 2005 collection. Take a look:

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