Metals Metals

By Russell Edson b. 1935 Russell Edson
Out of the golden West, out of the leaden East, into the iron South, and to the silver North . . . Oh metals metals everywhere, forks and knives, belt buckles and hooks . . . When you are beaten you sing. You do not give anyone a chance . . .

      You come out of the earth and fly with men. You lodge in men. You hurt them terribly. You tear them. You do not care for anyone.

      Oh metals metals, why are you always hanging about? Is it not enough that you hold men’s wrists? Is it not enough that we let you in our mouths?

      Why is it you will not do anything for yourself? Why is it you always wait for men to show you what to be?

      And men love you. Perhaps it is because you soften so often.
      You did, it is true, pour into anything men asked you to. It has always proved you to be somewhat softer than you really are.

      Oh metals metals, why are you always filling my house?
      You are like family, you do not care for anyone.

“Metals Metals” from The Childhood of an Equestrian (Harper & Row, 1973). Reprinted in The Tunnel: Selected Poems (Oberlin College Press, 1994) © Russell Edson

Source: The Childhood of an Equestrian (Harper & Row, 1973)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Russell Edson b. 1935

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Relationships, Home Life, Family & Ancestors, Social Commentaries, Crime & Punishment

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

 Russell  Edson

Biography

Called the “godfather of the prose poem in America,” Russell Edson’s idiosyncratic body of work is populated with strange and intriguing figures: a woman fights a tree, a mother serves ape; in the poem “Let Us Consider,” there’s a “farmer who makes his straw hat his sweetheart” and an “old woman who makes a floor lamp her son.” The poems are surreal and fablelike, sometimes resembling brief plays. Donald Hall has said of Edson’s . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Home Life, Family & Ancestors, Social Commentaries, Crime & Punishment

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.