In the Johannesburg mines
There are 240,000 natives working.
What kind of poem
Would you make out of that?
240,000 natives working
In the Johannesburg mines.
The thing I like about this short poem is that it is a poem about when poets and poetry readers might be well-advised to silently pause and suck in their breath. Is this despair? A "social sublime"? Maybe. But it would be easy, in fact, to write about the mines and other injustices (as Hughes would do, at length, in the 30s), and it would be easy to pass over in silence. But Hughes does neither; here he simply takes a snapshot of the poet at a loss - or the poet framing the image by writing a poem about not writing a poem. And that's perhaps the most eloquent thing one could say. It's what George Oppen "said," in the 1930s, in a different way.
July submissions - Pleiades: http://www.pleiadesmag.com/submit/ I-70 Review: https://www.facebook.com/I-70-Review-210299072332194/ https://entropymag.org/category/where-to-su...
16 hours ago