The Great Society

Dentists continue to water their lawns even in the rain:
Hands developed with terrible labor by apes   
Hang from the sleeves of evangelists;
There are murdered kings in the light-bulbs outside movie theaters:   
The coffins of the poor are hibernating in piles of new tires.

The janitor sits troubled by the boiler,
And the hotel keeper shuffles the cards of insanity.   
The President dreams of invading Cuba.   
Bushes are growing over the outdoor grills,   
Vines over the yachts and the leather seats.

The city broods over ash cans and darkening mortar.   
On the far shore, at Coney Island, dark children   
Playing on the chilling beach: a sprig of black seaweed,   
Shells, a skyful of birds,
While the mayor sits with his head in his hands.

Robert Bly, "The Great Society" from The Light Around the Body, published by HarperCollins Publishers  Copyright © 1967 and renewed 1995 by Robert Bly.  Used by permission of Robert Bly.
Source: The Light Around the Body (HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 1966)
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