A Poem From The Year


"Street" by George Oppen:

Ah these are the poor,
These are the poor—

Bergen street.


Nor are they very good  to each other;
It is not that. I want

An end to poverty
As much as anyone

For the sake of intelligence,
‘The conquest of existence’—

It has been said, and is true—

And this is real pain,
Moreover. It is terrible to see the children,

The righteous little girls;
So good, they expect to be so good…

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(From Collected Poems © 1975 by George Oppen. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp. Photo by Flickr user andrewmalone)