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Two Bums Walk Out of Eden


Two bums walk out of Eden.  Evening approaches

The suave, the decorous trees, the careful grass,

The strict green benches—and the two bums go.


They caught the official nod, the backward-pointing

Thumb, and now they rise and leave a little

Briskly as men heedful to waste no time—


As men bending their steps toward due appointments.

The tall one looms like a skeleton; the runt

Walks with the totter of a tumbleweed.


Down the trimmed ceremonial path they go

Together, silent and separate and eyes

Ahead like soldiers.  Down the long path and out.


What desert blanched these faces?  What blowing sands

Gullied the eyes and scarred the hanging hands

While Babylon and Nineveh were falling?


Now a shade darker will be a shade less dark.

Now there is room for evening in the park

Where cool episcopal bells will soon be calling.


Robert Francis



From The Orb Weaver, Wesleyan University Press, © 1960.
Reprinted by permission.


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