February 27, 2007
From the book: THE POETRY OF SOLITUDE-A TRIBUTE TO EDWARD HOPPER.
Poems gathered from noted poets inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper.
GAS-after Edward Hopper
The lonely man
performs some necessary ritual
behind a pump. We cannot tell
exactly what it is he does because
the angle is so odd. A rack of cans
of oil between
two pumps on the island stands, as they always
do, conveniently available
in easy reach of any needy
motorist. The light is low, and the trees,
behind the man and his pumps, march darkly
off to the right. A modest shock
of roadside weeds attends the greenery
as it condenses. On the periphery,
out of our ken,
shines a source of artificial light. We
are meant to feel the clutch of the
evening. It is not benevolent.
The artist has invested his talent.
The values and the crusty inflections
of his particular diction
demonstrate devotion to the modest
fears of the soul in the longest moments
of late after-
noon. A sign hangs white above the station.
Mobilgas and Pegasus. A
flag of sorts, a standard, here, to more
than gas. The language, though hard, is clear.