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Manhole Covers

Karl Shapiro

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Added by: Silicon Valley Mom
This one cracks me up for it reminds me of when my daughter was small and she and our little Indian neighbor boy would vye for space to stand on the manhole cover in the yard of our apartment complex. His mom and I decided that that was the reason there would never be world peace -- cause everyone wants their own manhole cover! Even when they're only three years old.
Added by: bubz
this poem lacks feeling as Karl Shapiro tries too hard to portray emotion which is not present
Added by: carey
this was a alright poem by karl shapiro but i thin it lacked feeling and emotion because in other works of his you can feel the emotin as you read and manhole covers just has no feeling
Added by: Lisa G.
I think Shapiro wrote a poem about manhole covers because people don't normally write or really think about manhole covers. I think he's saying that a lot the things that represent our civilization and which would be saved as artifacts of it if we died out are pretty mundane.
Added by: Katherine Hayes
I think that the people who commented below are poetic armatures. Almost no poems written by Shapiro are literal, his poems are much more symbolic. all poets in general write poems that are meaningful to them in some way. this poem is symbolic to a point that no one, but the author, knows its true meaning. through similies and imagery, shapiro is able to convey that the manhole covers are a symbol of strength. when shapiro mentions "medals struck by a great savage Kahn" the image of a powerful figure striking a medal won from a victory at war comes to mind. then Shapiro talks about the rustproof manhole covers, symbolizing the longevity and the bueaty of ones strength. when reading a poem it is important to keep an open mind and before you critic a poem you must no at least a little bit about the poets writing style.
manhole covers
Added by: jennifer w
Poetry doesn't always have to be obscure and deeply symbolic to be good. In fact if the only significance the text has is to the poet him/herself, I'd say it probably isn't any good. I agree with the writer who suggests Shapiro is speaking at least partly ironically about the manhole cover representing one of the future artifacts of our civilization. Mundane, yet built to last, and strangely beautiful and iconic in its own way.

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