Fall 1948 • Vol. X No. 4 PoetryOctober 1, 1948 |

The Private Eye: A Detective Story

The laundry man fermented in his bed, Indifferent to complaints about the towels And undershirts: he had been three days dead, Creatures had come to forage in his bowels.   Tell the tale over truly, whoever can,   Of the unnatural passing of the laundry man. Out of the temples of the Abstract Law Cops and photographers removed in legion To butter their bread with the unhappy gore Coagulating in this mortal region.   They pluck their daily bread out of such death.   All, all is vanity, the preacher saith. But O the Private Eye, the Private Eye Has not descended to us from sublime And legal heights, nor risen from the sty Wherein the pig-men go waddling in crime:   Modern Ulysses who, in the keen feud   Of gods and mortals, is known to both as shrewd. Monstrous guilt has shrunken into clues As thin as hair, unstable as an ash, And unobtrusive as lovers' rendezvous Or the slight rise of pimples in a rash.   And the unskilled in crime

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Anthony Hecht (1923- 2004) followed the G.I. bill to study with John Crowe Ransom at Kenyon. He wrote eight books of poetry and two works of nonfiction, winning the Pulitzer Prize for his poetry collection The Hard Hours in 1967. In his lifetime he also received the Bollingen Prize, the Ruth Lilly Prize, the Loines Award, the Librex-Guggenheim Eugenio Montale Award, and the Harriet Monroe Poetry Award, as well as fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the American Academy in Rome, the Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. He was a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and lived in Washington, D.C.

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