It is terrible to be a person who reads poetry, because you can be standing in front of your pantry looking at the splendid confections that are yours for the greenback at the local Trader Joe’s grocery chain store, and a trepidation occurs somewhere in your chassis, and you look around you at the washing machine and the computer-controlled HVAC system and think about how little of the world lives to this standard, and you think of Carl Sandburg.
The feet of the rats
scribble on the door sills;
the hieroglyphs of the rat footprints
chatter the pedigrees of the rats
and babble of the blood
and gabble of the breed
of the grandfathers and the great-grandfathers
of the rats.
And the wind shifts
and the dust on a door sill shifts
and even the writing of the rat footprints
tells us nothing, nothing at all
about the greatest city, the greatest nation
where the strong men listened
and the women warbled: Nothing like us ever was.