poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this Poem 

“Lunch at a City Club” by Stephen Vincent Benét was published in Benet’s collection Heavens and Earth: A Book of Poems (1920).

Lunch at a City Club

Stephen Vincent Benét, 1898 - 1943

(For, though not to, D. M. C.)

The member with the face like a pale ham
Settles his stomachs in the leather chair.
The member with the mustard-color hair
Chats with the member like a curly ram,
Then silence like the shutting of a clam,
Gulps, and slow eating, and the waiters’ stare—
Like prosperous leeches settling to their fare
The members gorge, distending as they cram.

And I am fiery ice—and a hand knocks
Inside my heart. Three hours till God comes true,
When there’s no earth or sky or time in clocks
But only hell and paradise and you.
Life bows his strings! I shout the amazing tune!
…The dullest member drops his coffee spoon.

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Stephen Vincent Benét

Stephen Vincent Benét was born July 22, 1898, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, into

by this poet

poem
There were three stout pillars that held up all
The weight and tradition of Wingate Hall.
One was Cudjo and one was you
And the third was the mistress, Mary Lou.
Mary Lou Wingate, as slightly made
And as hard to break as a rapier-blade.
Bristol's daughter and Wingate's bride,
Never well since the last child died
poem
I have fallen in love with American names, 
The sharp names that never get fat, 
The snakeskin-titles of mining-claims, 
The plumed war-bonnet of Medicine Hat, 
Tucson and Deadwood and Lost Mule Flat. 

Seine and Piave are silver spoons, 
But the spoonbowl-metal is thin and worn, 
There are English counties like
poem
It rained a lot that spring. You woke in the morning
And saw the sky still clouded, the streets still wet,
But nobody noticed so much, except the taxis
And the people who parade. You don't, in a city.
The parks got very green. All the trees were green
Far into July and August, heavy with leaf,
Heavy with leaf