Resigning from a Job in a Defense Industry

By Sandra McPherson b. 1943 Sandra McPherson
The names of things—sparks!
I ran on them like a component:   
Henries, microhenries, Blue   
Beavers, wee wee ductors:   
Biographer of small lives,
Of a plug and his girl named Jack,   
Of Utopian colonies which worked—
Steel, germanium, brass, aluminum,
                   Outside, afloat, my words
Swung an arm charting the woman
Who was the river bottom.

We tried, beyond work, at work,   
To keep what we loved. Near
Christmas I remember the office
Women trimming their desperately   
Glittering holy day trees. And,
Just as I left, the company
Talent show, the oils and sentiment   
Thick on still lifes and seacoasts,
The brush strokes tortured as a child’s   
First script. Someone
Had studied driftwood; another man,   
The spray of a wave, the mania
Of waters above torpedoes.

Sandra McPherson, “Resigning from a Job in the Defense Industry” from Elegies for the Hot Season (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1970). Copyright © 1983 by Sandra McPherson. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: Elegies for the Hot Season (Indiana University Press, 1970)

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Poet Sandra McPherson b. 1943

Subjects Jobs & Working, Activities

Holidays Christmas, Labor Day

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Sandra  McPherson


Sandra McPherson weaves vivid images culled from nature into what Contemporary Women Poets contributor David Young characterizes as "rich, complex, and deeply satisfying poems." In collections that include the National Book Award-nominated The Year of Our Birth, 1988's At the Grave of Hazel Hall, and 1996's Edge Effect: Trails and Portrayals, McPherson has increasingly honed her unsentimental, insightful verse, imbuing it with . . .

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SUBJECT Jobs & Working, Activities

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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