Monday, February 16, 2015

An Abandoned Factory, Detroit

By Philip Levine

 The gates are chained, the barbed-wire fencing stands,
 An iron authority against the snow,
 And this grey monument to common sense
 Resists the weather. Fears of idle hands,
 Of protest, men in league, and of the slow
 Corrosion of their minds, still charge this fence.

 Beyond, through broken windows one can see 
Where the great presses paused between their strokes
 And thus remain, in air suspended, caught
 In the sure margin of eternity.
 The cast-iron wheels have stopped; one counts the spokes

 Which movement blurred, the struts inertia fought,
 And estimates the loss of human power,
 Experienced and slow, the loss of years,
 The gradual decay of dignity.
 Men lived within these foundries, hour by hour;

 Nothing they forged outlived the rusted gears
 Which might have served to grind their eulogy.

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