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The Burglar Of Babylon Analysis

Author: Poetry of Elizabeth Bishop Type: Poetry Views: 111

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Questions of Travel1955On the fair green hills of RioThere grows a fearful stain:

The poor who come to RioAnd can't go home again.On the hills a million people,A million sparrows, nest,

Like a confused migrationThat's had to light and rest,Building its nests, or houses,Out of nothing at all, or air.

You'd think a breath would end them,They perch so lightly there.But they cling and spread like lichen,And people come and come.

There's one hill called the Chicken,And one called Catacomb;There's the hill of Kerosene,And the hill of Skeleton,

The hill of Astonishment,And the hill of Babylon.Micuçú was a burglar and killer,An enemy of society.

He had escaped three timesFrom the worst penitentiary.They don't know how many he murdered(Though they say he never raped),

And he wounded two policemenThis last time he escaped.They said, "He'll go to his auntie,Who raised him like a son.

She has a little drink shopOn the hill of Babylon."He did go straight to his auntie,And he drank a final beer.

He told her, "The soldiers are coming,And I've got to disappear.""Ninety years they gave me.Who wants to live that long?

I'll settle for ninety hours,On the hill of Babylon."Don't tell anyone you saw me.I'll run as long as I can.

You were good to me, and I love you,But I'm a doomed man."Going out, he met a


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