[Skip Navigation]

Plagiarist Poetry Sites: Plagiarist.com | Poetry X | Poetry Discussion Forums | Open Poetry Project | Joycean.org
Enter our Poetry Contest
Win Cash and Publication!

Plagiarist.com Archive

More poems by Philip LevinePhilip Levine | Print this page.Print | View and Write CommentsComments | Books by Philip LevineBooks by Philip Levine

At Bessemer

Philip Levine

19 years old and going nowhere, 
I got a ride to Bessemer and walked 
the night road toward Birmingham 
passing dark groups of men cursing 
the end of a week like every week. 
Out of town I found a small grove 
of trees, high narrow pines, and I 
sat back against the trunk of one 
as the first rains began slowly. 
South, the lights of Bessemer glowed 
as though a new sun rose there, 
but it was midnight and another shift 
tooled the rolling mills. I must 
have slept awhile, for someone 
else was there beside me. I could 
see a cigarette's soft light, 
and once a hand grazed mine, man 
or woman's I never knew. Slowly 
I could feel the darkness fill 
my eyes and the dream that came was 
of a bright world where sunlight 
fell on the long even rows of houses 
and I looked down from great height 
at a burned world I believed 
I never had to enter. When 
the true sun rose I was stiff 
and wet, and there beside me was 
the small white proof that someone 
rolled and smoked and left me there 
unharmed, truly untouched. 
A hundred yards off I could hear 
cars on the highway. A life 
was calling to be lived, but how 
and why I had still to learn.

Added: 25 Feb 2002 | Last Read: 16 Jan 2018 6:24 PM | Viewed: 4246 times

A PoetryNotes™ Analysis of At Bessemer by Philip Levine, is Available!

A PoetryNotes™ eBook is available for this poem for delivery within 24 hours, and usually available within minutes during normal business hours.

ON SALE - only $29.95 19.95!

For more information...


URL: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/2886/ | Viewed on 16 January 2018.
Copyright ©2018 Plagiarist - All rights reserved.