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Ode to Concrete, by Joseph Brodsky

September 22, 1996

You'll outlast me, good old concrete,

as I've outlasted, it seems, some men

who had taken me, too, for a kind of street,

citing color of eyes, or mien.

So I praise your inanimate, porous looks

not out of envy but as the next

of kin--less durable, plagued with loose

joints, though still grateful to the architects.

I applaud your humble--to be exact,

meaningless--origins, roar and screech,

fully matched, however, by the abstract

destination, beyond my reach.

It's not that nothing begets its kind

but that the future prefers to court

a date that's resolutely blind

and wrapped in a petrified long skirt

From "So Forth" by Joseph Brodsky. (Farrar Straus Giroux: $18, 87 pp.). Copyright 1996 Reprinted by permission.

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