November 4, 2014

Election Day

The Paris Review shocked me into another kind of appreciation for election day by offering this 1941 poem by William Carlos Williams.

Warm sun, quiet air

an old man sits

in the doorway of

a broken house—

boards for windows

plaster falling

from between the stones

and strokes the head

of a spotted dog

It never struck me to consider election day as a subject for poetry, but a quick search at The Poetry Foundation turned up a number of poems on the same theme. Reading them sounds like a better way to pass the evening than watching election returns.

This could be fun. Paris Review also offers Whitman's In Honor of Election Day

If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and show,

’Twould not be you, Niagara—nor you, ye limitless prairies—nor your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,

Nor you, Yosemite—nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic geyser- loops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,
Nor Oregon’s white cones—nor Huron’s belt of mighty lakes—nor Mississippi’s stream:
—This seething hemisphere’s humanity, as now, I’d name— the still small voice vibrating—America’s choosing day