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A Pushcart at the Curb   By: (1896-1970)

Book cover

First Page:

A PUSHCART AT THE CURB

by

JOHN DOS PASSOS

Books by John Dos Passos

NOVELS:

Three Soldiers

One Man's Initiation

Streets of Night

(In Preparation)

ESSAYS:

Rosinante to the Road Again

POEMS:

A Pushcart at the Curb

A PUSHCART AT THE CURB

by

JOHN DOS PASSOS

[Decorative Illustration]

George H. Doran Company Publishers New York

Copyright, 1922, By George H. Doran Company

[Decorative Illustration]

A Pushcart at the Curb. I

Printed in the United States of America

TO THE MEMORY

OF

WRIGHT McCORMICK

WHO TUMBLED OFF A MOUNTAIN

IN MEXICO

My verse is no upholstered chariot Gliding oil smooth on oiled wheels, No swift and shining modern limousine, But a pushcart, rather.

A crazy creaking pushcart, hard to push Round corners, slung on shaky patchwork wheels, That jolts and jumbles over the cobblestones Its very various lading:

A lading of Spanish oranges, Smyrna figs, Fly specked apples, perhaps of the Hesperides, Curious fruits of the Indies, pepper sweet ... Stranger, choose and taste.

Dolo

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

For permission to reprint certain of the poems in this volume, thanks are due The Bookman , The Dial , Vanity Fair , The Measure , and The New York Evening Post .

CONTENTS

PAGE

WINTER IN CASTILE 13

NIGHTS AT BASSANO 65

VAGONES DE TERCERA 109

QUAI DE LA TOURNELLE 139

ON FOREIGN TRAVEL 163

PHASES OF THE MOON 185

WINTER IN CASTILE

The promiscuous wind wafts idly from the quays A smell of ships and curious woods and casks And a sweetness from the gorse on the flowerstand And brushes with his cool careless cheek the cheeks Of those on the street; mine, an old gnarled man's, The powdered cheeks of the girl who with faded eyes Stands in the shadow; a sailor's scarred brown cheeks, And a little child's, who walks along whispering To her sufficient self. O promiscuous wind.

Bordeaux

I

A long grey street with balconies. Above the gingercolored grocer's shop trail pink geraniums and further up a striped mattress hangs from a window and the little wooden cage of a goldfinch.

Four blind men wabble down the street with careful steps on the rounded cobbles scraping with violin and flute the interment of a tune.

People gather: women with market baskets stuffed with green vegetables, men with blankets on their shoulders and brown sunwrinkled faces.

Pipe the flutes, squeak the violins; four blind men in a row at the interment of a tune ... But on the plate coppers clink round brown pennies a merry music at the funeral, penny swigs of wine penny gulps of gin peanuts and hot roast potatoes red disks of sausage tripe steaming in the corner shop ...

And overhead the sympathetic finch chirps and trills approval.

Calle de Toledo, Madrid

II

A boy with rolled up shirtsleeves turns the handle. Grind, grind. The black sphere whirls above a charcoal fire. Grind, grind. The boy sweats and grits his teeth and turns while a man blows up the coals. Grind, grind. Thicker comes the blue curling smoke, the moka scented smoke heavy with early morning and the awakening city with click clack click clack on the cobblestones and the young winter sunshine advancing inquisitively across the black and white tiles of my bedroom floor. Grind, grind. The coffee is done. The boy rubs his arms and yawns, and the sphere and the furnace are trundled away to be set up at another café... Continue reading book >>




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