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Mercury, Descendant, By Donald Hall

March 21, 1993

Mercury, descendant of Henry Ford's five-

dollar-a-day Model-T factory line,

you educated us and provided means

of exploration,

messenger of adult pleasures that began

at the drive-in movie and continued when

we flew ourselves out of town, winged at the heel,

unnoticed by blue

parents or policeman, to hasten with joy

from public highways onto backroads beside

meadows with your radio playing soft tunes

while we played also.

Helped by ingenious cherished disorder,

we resisted intimidation from old

gods and new teachers, in order to turn old

ourselves, past sedans

and stationwagons back to the two-seater:

Oh, surely your transport will return again

in the procession of motors following

a sable Lincoln.

From "The Museum of Clear Ideas" (Ticknor & Fields: $18.95; 119 pp.). This book includes two series of poems: "Baseball," written in nine innings, each composed of nine stanzas, each stanza nine lines, and each line nine syllables, and "The Museum of Clear Ideas," which imitates the first book of the "Odes" of Horace. "Mercury, Descendant" is the 10th poem in that series. 1993 by Donald Hall. Reprinted by permission.

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