Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
The Steam-shovel
By Maxwell Bodenheim
 
From “Charcoals”

  THERE was an unsightly arm
And a cupped hand with three crusted fingers.
The hand sank into earth and bulged with it:
Then swung aloft in sudden exaltation….
And the seamy, blotched man beside me said:        5
“I’ve stood here for two hours watching that steam-shovel—
Can’t seem to get enough of it.”
 
  I stood for hours, but I did not see the shovel.
I saw the man in smirched blue
Jerking a rope at the precise moment        10
When the laden hand dipped over a freight-car—
His strained wet face, and his eyes pressed to specks.
I saw the knotted-up man at the engine,
His face dead and dented like old tin.
(Life to him is the opening and closing of levers,        15
And heavy sleep.)
 
  When I walked away the two men were fixed paintings
In the little art-gallery of my mind,
Where portraits are weighed well before admitted….
The steam-shovel?—I had forgotten it.        20
 
 
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