More from Our Poetry Workshop: “Iron City” & “Ode to a Groundhog”

Bob Ferguson of www.LLIChesterfield.org wrote a tribute to the Iron City. He explains the setting of the poem below. In class, he mentioned that he was familiar with this area in his youth and that it made a big impression on him. I am sorry that we did not get a chance to discuss this poem in class, but perhaps we will next week. However, I will feature it here:

(Bob’s Note: The steel towns in the Monongahela River Valley referred to below are Duquesne and McKeesport Pennsylvania)

 

Iron City

 

The 1950’s

Sulfur smelling clouds billow orange.

Gritty dust and acid fog cover, corrode.

Rail cars rumble night and day.

Furnaces blast, howl, spit fire.

Big steel is king along the rivers.

Boom times in the Mon valley, so…

Let’s all have an Iron City beer.

 

The 21st century

The air is clear, smells and clouds are gone

Now the rails and mills are silent

The furnaces scrapped or shipped

Where are the jobs, the young people?

Big steel is dethroned and gone forever

Tough times in the Mon valley, so…

Let’s all have an Iron City beer!

 

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 Bob wrote another Ode, this time to a Groundhog. He asks a question that most people have never thought about? Is the Groundhog a “Potent prognosticator or a ridiculous rodent? He support both views but lets the readers decide. In the second stanza, he breaks into the mode of a Shakespeare poem, “To see or not to see, that is his Springtime shadow question.” Phil concludes that we must shiver for six more weeks, presumably as he re-enters his hole for warmth.

Ode to a Groundhog

 

Potent prognosticator or ridiculous rodent?

He slumbers snug in a cozy burrow through Winter’s worst

But dreams of Spring awaken hope deep within his breast

He stirs, sniffs the soil, shuffles a plump furry body forward

Then thrusts skyward to light in quest of an answer

 

To see or not to see, that is his Springtime shadow question.

Twitching nose sniffs fresh air, eyes drink in the light

Teeth ache to taste fresh greenery but only snow is in sight

He waddles ahead uncuriously, but others see a shadow and shudder

Punxsutawney Phil has spoken, six more weeks to shiver!

 

Write Bob at the ferg44@hotmail.com or reply at the bottom of this Post to Litchatte.com

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