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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elizabeth Bishop
Elizabeth Bishop
Elizabeth Bishop was born on February 8, 1911, in Worcester, Massachusetts. She received the 1956 Pulitzer Prize for her collection, Poems: North & South/A Cold Spring. ...
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FURTHER READING
Poems about Historical Events
Artificer
by Czeslaw Milosz
Cashel Man
by Sean Frederick Forbes
Daytime Begins with a Line by Anna Akhmatova
by Yusef Komunyakaa
Indian Stream Republic
by Stephen Burt
Longing to Commodious
by Rob Halpern
Matriot Acts, Act I [History of Mankind]
by Anne Waldman
Occasioned by General Washington's Arrival in Philadelphia, On His Way to His Residence in Virginia
by Philip Freneau
Oklahoma City: The Aftermath
by Ira Sadoff
On Seeing Larry Rivers' Washington Crossing the Delaware at the Museum of Modern Art
by Frank O'Hara
On the Day of Nixon's Funeral
by Ira Sadoff
Paul Revere's Ride
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Rouen, Place de la Pucelle
by Maria White Lowell
Shirt
by Robert Pinsky
Singer
by Valzhyna Mort
The Present Crisis
by James Russell Lowell
Wave
by David Keplinger
William Dawes
by Eileen Myles
Related Prose
Elizabeth Bishop's 'New' Poems
by Lloyd Schwartz
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Suicide of a Moderate Dictator

 
by Elizabeth Bishop

This is a day when truths will out, perhaps;
leak from the dangling telephone earphones
sapping the festooned switchboards' strength;
fall from the windows, blow from off the sills,
—the vague, slight unremarkable contents
of emptying ash-trays; rub off on our fingers
like ink from the un-proof-read newspapers,
crocking the way the unfocused photographs
of crooked faces do that soil our coats,
our tropical-weight coats, like slapped-at moths.

Today's a day when those who work
are idling. Those who played must work
and hurry, too, to get it done,
with little dignity or none.
The newspapers are sold; the kiosk shutters
crash down. But anyway, in the night
the headlines wrote themselves, see, on the streets
and sidewalks everywhere; a sediment's splashed
even to the first floors of apartment houses.

This is a day that's beautiful as well,
and warm and clear. At seven o'clock I saw
the dogs being walked along the famous beach
as usual, in a shiny gray-green dawn,
leaving their paw prints draining in the wet.
The line of breakers was steady and the pinkish,
segmented rainbow steadily hung above it.
At eight two little boys were flying kites.







"Suicide of a Moderate Dictator" from Edgar Allan Poe & the Juke-Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts, and Fragments by Elizabeth Bishop. Copyright © 2006 by Alice Helen Methfessel. Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC.
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