Professional Middle-class Couple, 1922

By Adam Kirsch Adam Kirsch
Professional Middle-class Couple, 1922 by August Sander
What justifies the inequality
That issues her a tastefully square-cut
Ruby for her finger, him a suit
Whose rumpled, unemphatic dignity
Declares a life of working sitting down,
While someone in a sweatshop has to squint
And palsy sewing, and a continent
Sheds blood to pry the gemstone from the ground,
Could not be justice. Nothing but the use
To which they put prosperity can speak
In their defense: the faces money makes,
They demonstrate, don’t have to be obtuse,
Entitled, vapid, arrogantly strong;
Only among the burghers do you find
A glance so frank, engaging, and refined,
So tentative, so conscious of  its wrong.

Source: Poetry (April 2013).

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2013
 Adam  Kirsch

Biography

Adam Kirsch’s The Modern Element: Essays on Contemporary Poetry (2008) is published by W.W. Norton. His second collection of poems is Invasions (Ivan R. Dee, 2008).

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Class, Money & Economics

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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