I have respect for bricks and kitchen shelves:
So patient, asking nothing for themselves.
I never heard one shout in someone’s face,
Or mutter, “Um, excuse me—that’s my place.”

I think I’d make a better garden spade
Than person. Mine is conscientious, staid
And competent. Nobody ever said
To it, “Do as you like—you always did.”

The centuries this bottle cap could last!—
When I am centuries within the past.
Shoes, tires could crush it, but it is too strong
To think of getting crushed until it’s gone.

These objects really should be using me
With their pure-hearted, calm sobriety.
What can I do with them? And who am I
To make then watch me paint my nails and cry?

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 18 Number 10, on page 37
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