Autobiography (Polish It Like A Piece Of Silver)

I am standing in the cemetery at Byrds, Texas.
What did Judy say? 'God-forsaken is beautiful, too.'
A very old man who has cancer on his face and takes
care of the cemetery, is raking a grave in such a
manner as to almost (polish it like a piece of silver.

by Richard Brautigan

Comments (21)

I’ve known this poem for 20 years or more and tomorrow I go to South Africa for the first time I think it may be that Thomas Hardy has something to do with this
So heartthrobing...........................................
Yet portion of that unknown plain/Will Hodge forever be I was just struck by how wunderkind Rupert Brooke got (or ripped-off) his idiomatic is forever England from this poem.
This is about an English boy soldier, killed in a savage, senseless war and a lonely agonising death. To be read by a woman with an American accent completely destroys the ethos of the poem. Why? Racism? No, Hardy paints a picture of group of rough English squaddies (lower rank soldiers) battle weary and shocked by the sheer violence of the day. As a drummer, Hodge would be no more than 15 years old and this youthfulness would hit them hard; one of them talks about the dead boy, This is Hodge's eulogy; spoken by one of the rough men he drummed into battle, they are his companions, they feel the complete desolation and uselessness of the aftermath of battle, Just as Hodges just as they consider the 'useless' body shovelled under the sand, they express it, not some woman with a foreign accent that makes the poem all wrong.
First time I've seen 'west' used as a verb. I suppose the sun daily wests. There's nothing anti-war in the poem as it stands.
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