Telephone Lineman And the Idea of Poetry

The old pole, fallen hero,

weather-blackened and finally brought low

by one last late-winter storm.

Now, the lineman poised

thirty-five feet in the air

atop a shaft of Southern Pine,

(I study him from my kitchen window)

remaking the matrix of telephone line.

Eye to eye with the crests of maple and oak,

how far, I wonder, can such a man see?

Is he attuned to possibility, would he

catch the word if the March wind spoke?

His gaze is brimmed with shadow

but the sun stars his plastic crown.

Calling in to Central, he punches the code and,

across the neighborhood, every telephone

rings at once. (They never taught me so

at college, but this too is poetry.)

A gust strums the undulant wire.

Orpheus sings!

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