Friday, July 27, 2007

A Little Poetry for You: Levine

Happy Poetry Friday! You'll find the round-up over at Check it Out!

I've snuck back from vacation for just a day, and wanted to get you this link to a wonderful poem by Philip Levine (brief bio).

I could only find this in audio, but I've transcribed the first half to the best of my ability.
Messieur Degas Teaches Art and Science at Durfy Intermediate School, Detroit 1942
by Philip Levine

He made a line on the blackboard
One bold stroke from right to left diagonally downward
And stood back to ask --
Looking as always at no one in particular --
"What have I done?"

From the back of the room Freddy shouted,
"You've broken a piece of chalk!"
Messieur Degas did not smile.
"What have I done?" he repeated.

The most intellectual students
Looked down to study their desks,
Except for Gertrude Bimler,
Who raised her hand before she spoke:
"Messieur Degas, you have created
The hypotenuse of an isosceles triangle."

Degas mused.
Everyone knew that Gertrude could not be incorrect.

Go here to hear: Messieur Degas Teaches Art and Science at Durfy Intermediate School, Detroit 1942

2 comments:

eisha said...

Good one. Well worth the effort you must have put into transcribing it!

Mark said...

Wait a second... Philip Levine is not the guy who writes the viagra advertisements? I might be wrong, but I think I'm not.
Any way, the poem is really good. Nice to read with a cup of coffee.