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The Machines Mourn the Passing of People


We miss the warmth of their clumsy hands,

The oil of their fingers, the cleansing of use

That warded off dust, and the warm abuse

Lavished upon us as reprimands.


We were kicked like dogs when we were broken,

But we did not whimper.  We gritted our cogsó

An honor it was to be treated as dogs,

To incur such warm words roughly spoken,


The way that they pleaded with us if we balkedó

"Come on, come on" in a hoarse whisper

As they would urge a reluctant loveró

The feel of their warm breath when they talked!


How could we guess they would ever be gone?

We are shorn now of tasks, and the lovely workó

Not toiling, not spinningólike lilies that shirkó

Like the brash dandelions that savage the lawn.


The air now is silent of curses or praise.

Jilted, abandoned to hells of what weather,

Left to our own devices forever,

We watch the sun rust at the end of its days.


Alicia E. Stallings



© Alicia E. Stallings.  From Archaic Smile, University

of Evansville Press; originally printed in Light;

reprinted by permission of the author.

Background by
Lewis Eaton

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