Pompeii

By Charles Bernstein b. 1950 Charles Bernstein
The rich men, they know about suffering
That comes from natural things, the fate that
Rich men say they can't control, the swell of   
The tides, the erosion of polar caps
And the eruption of a terrible
Greed among those who cease to be content
With what they lack when faced with wealth they are   
Too ignorant to understand. Such wealth   
Is the price of progress. The fishmonger   
Sees the dread on the faces of the trout
And mackerel laid out at the market   
Stall on quickly melting ice. In Pompeii
The lava flowed and buried the people
So poems such as this could be born.

Source: Poetry (June 2008).

 Charles  Bernstein

Biography

Poet, essayist, theorist, and scholar Charles Bernstein was born in New York City in 1950. He is a foundational member and leading practitioner of Language poetry.  Bernstein was educated at the Bronx High School of Science and at Harvard University, where he studied philosophy with Stanley Cavell and wrote his final thesis on Gertrude Stein and Ludwig Wittgenstein. In the mid-1970s Bernstein became active in the experimental . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Social Commentaries, Class

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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