This is the literary weblog of Jeffrey W. Hull, M.D., a pediatrician. It is intended mainly as a place to maintain a collection of poetry created for the enjoyment of a few friends and as an archive for my family. All material is protected by US copyright.

Jeffrey Hull

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Road Gang

Orange-suited convicts by the highway side
In penance bound to County or to State
See to it that the road is beautified.

They walk in line, but are they going straight?
Who are these men, what stories could they tell
About their blunted lives, what crimes relate?

Child nonsupport, and petty theft as well—
More daring outlaw exploits: bogus checks,
And barroom fights that wake up in a cell;

Their misdemeanor stories quite complex,
The convicts weave Homeric tales sublime:
Assaults on wives, and drunken auto wrecks.

Exciting lives! And will they use this time
To introspect a narrow fractured soul
And flee the dreary world of petty crime?

Let leading lights of social work cajole,
They might forswear their rowdy natures, but
More likely, simply wait upon parole.

And so they slouch along, sans jailhouse strut
And load their sacks with trash at leisure pace;
They see but yet the inner eye is shut.

© 2005 Jeffrey Hull


"They walk in line, but are they going straight?" Neat!

There's no problem with the regularity of *your* lines.

Good capsule portraits here, good choice of detail to illuminate these narrow lives. I was reminded of Dylan's "And the misdemeanor outlaw chained and cheated by pursuit."

Post a Comment

Newer Posts Older Posts