MudSong Five: These things astonish


—William Carlos Williams

The little sparrows
hop ingenuously
about the pavement
with sharp voices
over those things
that interest them.
But we who are wiser
shut ourselves in
on either hand
and no one knows
whether we think good
or evil.

the old man who goes about
gathering dog-lime
walks in the gutter
without looking up
and his tread
is more majestic than
that of the Episcopal minister
approaching the pulpit
of a Sunday.
These things
astonish me beyond words.


6 responses

  1. For treating leather, that dog-lime: in a 19th century city, there was no need of garbage trucks, as everything thrown away got taken away. And- one Episcopal minister looked like a Bishop by thirty: no-one could be more majestic.

      • “London Labour and the London Poor”, one of the first sociological surveys. The writer interviewed people in all sorts of trades. Collecting from dogs was not the worst. It is a fascinating book.

          • No, it is valuable stuff. It is used in the treatment of leather, according to Henry Mayhew. Going down the sewers was worse- people drop all sorts of things. In some areas, they still collected human dung. Dust from fires was collected as fertilizer, and to make bricks.

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