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Poem in Praise of a Car

Der Abend des Morgens kommt wie die Dämmerung zurück

The morning's evening returns to dusk

the halflight penetrates as far as here

Construction fence creaks in the wind

proclaiming bloody winter evening

and the sun sets disturbingly

through the massive clouds

that people create in the process of

keeping themselves warm

Their little houses are worlds

that line the streets down which I walk

like a halfdark shadow halfcomprehending

what I see    I think only of comfort

comfort that will come to me when I step inside

the door of the little world

The cars too are worlds

the motors run except when plagued by 'car trouble'

when they sputter or even fail to turn over

demanding to be left alone

They're only machines

can't operate like we do

forever going on aned on

except for when we sleep

They must be turned on and off

Ignition must be sparked to make them run

and since their natural state is blissful silence

and the immobility of metals and fluids

they do not want to carry us to work today, no!

And so after twice trying to make my car start

by turning the little key

I said to myself, "I know a secret--

This car will not start today, too bad,

noble mechanism."

And I think of the times the car has stopped

although it is a good car it is tired metal

it has stopped in traffic too

mostly when I didn't care for it

let one of its precious lifebloods run low

But today I stride down the street

away from the car

Subzero temperatures don't bother me

I'm warmly dressed

I'm happy, even, the car is happy

it will start another day, a warmer one

I'd even whistle if I knew how

walking those twelve blocks to work

when crossing a street

a phrase comes into my head and

it is another one

the morning's evening returns like dusk

Der Abend des Morgens kehrt wieder wie das Halbdunkel