Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Poem of the Day:
"Burn Lake: for Burn Construction Company" by Carrie Fountain
Poetry Daily;

"Burn Lake"

When you were building the I-10 bypass,
one of your dozers, moving earth
at the center of a great pit,
slipped its thick blade beneath
the water table, slicing into the earth's
wet palm, and the silt moistened
beneath the huge thing's tires, and the crew
was sent home for the day.
Next morning, water filled the pit.
Nothing anyone could do to stop it coming.
It was a revelation: kidney-shaped, deep
green, there between the interstate
and the sewage treatment plant.
When nothing else worked, you called it
a lake and opened it to the public.
And we were the public.

I have been in the midst of construction often; it always seems that Montgomery County is doing some sort of bridge fixing, road widening project while I am home, and Harvard Square has been experiencing ongoing construction by way of Brattle Street since I moved to Cambridge. My walk to and from the T involves people-passing and bulldozer-grazing. Quite the excitement.

Fountain's piece has made me reflect upon this construction, the surgical work that we as humans conduct upon the earth, mostly earth in the urban/suburban context. The concept of land tenure or land ownership is muddled for me. Who owns this sidewalk and why does he get to cut it up?

All Fountain's speaker gets is "a lake," but really a mistake that was handed off to the poem's public as if by doing so a grand gesture had been made. I have yet to receive such a grand gesture from the construction company operating in Harvard Square.

Where is my faux-pond? Carve me out a space too, will ya?

A Poem A Day Audrey


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