(Grand Trunk Western Railroad, 1967)
Cocky and freshly spurred, he climbed
Amid the alien corn: green row
On row arrayed in June and primed.
He climbed and saw those ranked spears grow
As close as ears could get to tracks.
Far off, four rails consumed their ties
Until they were the least of facts
And disappeared before his eyes.
This was his summer job: to dig
Heels in, step up, belt on, come down.
But slung back in his aerie's rig,
A yellow hard hat for a crown,
The lineman only meant to sight
How far his lonely kingdom ran
From such a pole, at such a height
As might become a brand new man.
He strung the wire and walked till Fall,
To see what might be out of joint.
But nothing there seemed wrong at all,
From vantage clear to vanishing point.
The Kent and Sussex Poetry Society
Prize Anthology, ©
2000. Reprinted by
permission of the author.