“Poetic License”


I reviewed my “about” page and learned through comments that others don’t start with reading it. Nonetheless, I thought it was a good time to reexamine my initial decision to separate my poems from my daily blog. I decided to begin to include some of those poems in my daily posts.

In formalist theory, poems stand by themselves and need no introduction, biographical, historical or contextual. However, whenever I have attended a poetry reading, I have been immensely helped by the casual introductory comments the poets make before they read. They will often relate the occasion which prompted the poem and add explanations that the reader might overlook. I thought I would adopt that stance when I include my poems.

When we moved to East Hartford, Connecticut from Portland, Oregon, I was very aware of my new surroundings and the ways they differed from my previous home. At that time, the garbage men(always men) hung off the trucks and threw the garbage, overhand,  into the trucks. When my town switched to trucks that picked up the garbage without needing the men, I wrote this poem–an elegy to the garbage men.

Collection Day

I miss them

Those muscled men who

Hoisted the cans up and over the truck edge.

Their arms first grew slack

Merely tipping into the compressor bed.

Then, finally, their biceps smoothed altogether

Replaced by mechanical limbs

Reaching disgracefully over and up.


10 thoughts on ““Poetic License”

  1. We were just talking the other day about the Garbage Men of our youth. How everyone was in much better shape from hard work like that, than our modern electronic age. I love the Poem! I could feel the transformation, from humanity, to cold steel as I read it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this. I find the “modern” Waste Management trucks scary–and tend not to watch as the dumpsters are lifted into the air…terrified they’ll fall and someone may be injured/killed.


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