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Robert Pinsky - Shirt

The back, the yoke, the yardage. Lapped seams,
The nearly invisible stitches along the collar
Turned in a sweatshop by Koreans or Malaysians

Gossiping over tea and noodles on their break
Or talking money or politics while one fitted
This armpiece with its overseam to the band

Of cuff I button at my wrist. The presser, the cutter,
The wringer, the mangle. The needle, the union,
The treadle, the bobbin. The code. The infamous blaze

At the Triangle Factory in nineteen-eleven.
One hundred and forty-six died in the flames
On the ninth floor, no hydrants, no fire escapes--

The witness in a building across the street
Who watched how a young man helped a girl to step
Up to the windowsill, then held her out

Away from the masonry wall and let her drop.
And then another. As if he were helping them up
To enter a streetcar, and not eternity.

A third before he dropped her put her arms
Around his neck and kissed him. Then he held
Her into space, and dropped her. Almost at once

He stepped up to the sill himself, his jacket flared
And fluttered up from his shirt as he came down,
Air filling up the legs of his gray trousers--

Like Hart Crane's Bedlamite, "shrill shirt ballooning."
Wonderful how the patern matches perfectly
Across the placket and over the twin bar-tacked

Corners of both pockets, like a strict rhyme
Or a major chord. Prints, plaids, checks,
Houndstooth, Tattersall, Madras. The clan tartans

Invented by mill-owners inspired by the hoax of Ossian,
To control their savage Scottish workers, tamed
By a fabricated heraldry: MacGregor,

Bailey, MacMartin. The kilt, devised for workers
to wear among the dusty clattering looms.
Weavers, carders, spinners. The loader,

The docker, the navvy. The planter, the picker, the sorter
Sweating at her machine in a litter of cotton
As slaves in calico headrags sweated in fields:

George Herbert, your descendant is a Black
Lady in South Carolina, her name is Irma
And she inspected my shirt. Its color and fit

And feel and its clean smell have satisfied
both her and me. We have culled its cost and quality
Down to the buttons of simulated bone,

The buttonholes, the sizing, the facing, the characters
Printed in black on neckband and tail. The shape,
The label, the labor, the color, the shade. The shirt.

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Added: Feb 20 2003 | Viewed: 1178 times | Comments and analysis of Shirt by Robert Pinsky Comments (239)

Shirt - Comments and Information

Poet: Robert Pinsky
Poem: Shirt
Poem of the Day: Jun 17 2006

Comment 239 of 239, added on March 4th, 2017 at 1:57 PM.
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9E6Fim It as really a nice and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

mike tyson from Uzbekistan
Comment 238 of 239, added on March 4th, 2017 at 8:41 AM.
tTZDukenrZYNRa

5HyU07 wow, awesome blog post.Really thank you! Really Cool.

mike tyson from Singapore
Comment 237 of 239, added on January 31st, 2017 at 5:22 PM.
xwUDDHdcfnRbEO

y86ULc There is perceptibly a lot to identify about this. I consider you made some good points in features also.

More Bonuses from Nepal

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