You know the old story Ann Landers tells
About the houseife in her basement doing the wash?
She’s wearing her nightie, and she thinks, “Well, hell,
I might’s well put this in as well,” and then
Being dripped on by a leaky pipe puts on
Her son’s football helmet; whereupon
The meter reader happens to walk through
and “Lady,” he gravely says, “I sure hope your team wins.”

A story many times told in many ways,
The set of random accidents redeemed
By one more accident, as though chaos
Were the order that was before the creation came.
That is the way things happen in the world:
A joke, a disappointment satisfied,
As we walk through doing our daily round,
Reading the meter, making things add up.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Howard Nemerov's poem Poetics

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