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The Helmet Analysis

Author: poem of Philip Levine Type: poem Views: 9

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All the way

on the road to Gary

he could see

where the sky shone

just out of reach

and smell the rich

smell of work

as strong as money,

but when he got there

the night was over.

People were going

to work and back,

the sidewalks were lakes

no one walked on,

the diners were saying

time to eat

so he stopped

and talked to a woman

who'd been up late

making helmets.

There are white hands

the color of steel,

they have put their lives

into steel,

and if hands could lay down

their lives these hands

would be helmets.

He and the woman

did not lie down

not because

she would praise

the steel helmet

boarding a train

for no war,

not because

he would find

the unjewelled crown

in a surplus store

where hands were sold.

They did not lie down

face to face

because of the waste

of being so close

and they were too tired

of being each other

to try to be lovers

and because they had

to sit up straight

so they could eat.


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