Winter 1997 • Vol. XIX No. 1 Poetry |

The Great Depression

The glow of pennies in a quart canning jar The glow of the numinous wooden radio The glow of late May … It was as if a giant had swallowed an era whole And all the people and trees and buildings And dogs and cats Lived there in his stomach. It was as if time were a parent Placing a permanent hand on your shoulder … Definition is a horizon Even dreams must obey as They exalt on another plane the burnished day. Banks moaned and armies rattled And the fireflies came out and the snow fell As children lay patiently in their beds Waiting to be told a story that sweetly murdered time . . . Once there was a little man with a mustache Who could roar like an aeroplane. He lived in a topsy-turvy house on a dismal street Beside a canal full of oak leaves … In the middle of the confining night The nexus of human nerves awakens And lies there worried yet Cozy as a coin in a rich man's pocket. Outside on the street or prairie There is no outside . . . The giant r

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece

Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.

Read More


Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.


With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.