Rhymes for a Watertower

By Christian Wiman b. 1966 Christian Wiman
A town so flat a grave's a hill,
            A dusk the color of beer.
A row of schooldesks shadows fill,
            A row of houses near.

A courthouse spreading to its lawn,
            A bank clock's lingering heat.
A gleam of storefronts not quite gone,
            A courthouse in the street.

A different element, almost,
            A dry creek brimming black.
A light to lure the darkness close,
            A light to keep it back.

A time so still a heart's a sound,
            A moon the color of skin.
A pumpjack bowing to the ground,
            Again, again, again.

Christian Wiman, "Rhymes for a Watertower" from Hard Night. Copyright © 2005 by Christian Wiman.  Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press.

Source: Hard Night (Copper Canyon Press, 2005)

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

Poet Christian Wiman b. 1966

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

Poetic Terms Common Measure, Rhymed Stanza

Biography

Poet, translator, editor, and essayist Christian Wiman was raised in West Texas and earned a BA at Washington and Lee University. He received an honorary doctorate from North Central College.
 
Making use of—and at times gently disassembling—musical and metrical structures, Wiman often explores themes of spiritual faith and doubt in his spare, precise poems. Praising Wiman’s “ear for silence” in a review of Every Riven Thing for . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Common Measure, Rhymed Stanza

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.