Inspiring Poem by Elizabeth Bishop

Here is a poem from the book I was telling you about, Poems to Read: A New Favorite Poem Project Anthology. Note: a taboret is a stool and Esso is a brand of oil for your car, hirsute means hairy, begonia is a flowering plant and marguerites are a crochet stitch that creates a round star.

Filling Station

Oh, but it’s dirty! -this little filling station, oil-soaked, oil-permeated to a disturbing, over-all black translucency. Be careful with that match! Father wears a dirty, oil-soaked monkey suit that cuts him under the arms, and several quick and saucy and greasy sons assist him (it’s a family filling station), all quite thoroughly dirty. Do they live in the station? It has a cement porch behind the pumps, and on it a set of crushed and grease- impregnated wickerwork; on the wicker sofa a dirty dog, quite comfy. Some comic books provide the only note of color- of certain color. They lie upon a big dim doily draping a taboret (part of the set), beside a big hirsute begonia. Why the extraneous plant? Why the taboret? Why, oh why, the doily? (Embroidered in daisy stitch with marguerites, I think, and heavy with gray crochet.) Somebody embroidered the doily. Somebody waters the plant, or oils it, maybe. Somebody arranges the rows of cans so that they softly say: ESSO – so – so – so to high-strung automobiles. Somebody loves us all.

~Elizabeth Bishop

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