Nation Building

I am losing the knack for putting together houses—
they are pretentious contrivances, they contain
Hideous carpets that need to be beaten. And being
out of the rain is overrated. I am losing
My argument with entropy the way I lost the election
for class president in 1959: with a mixture
Of embarrassment and desire. There is a ratio
of house to entropy that is yet to be determined,
But gravity is the missing link. It drags the sconces down,
covers the roof with leaves that clog the gutters.
It is a mind-forged manacle—Blake had no use for it,
he rose every morning a sick rose, but he knew
An invisible worm when he saw one. The Tyger
of freedom is leaking like my basement, the sump
Is busted. If it weren’t for gravity, the rain wouldn’t divide us
into haves and have-nots, and if it weren’t for entropy
The fallen branches in the yard would create a new world
order. Where are the founders who were born
In log cabins they helped their fathers build? Blake owned a house
but sat naked in the garden. My own father foundered—but,
Like him, I get out my ladder. I empty my bucket. I fight the losing war.

T.R. Hummer

T.R. Hummer

T. R. Hummer’s most recent books of poetry are After the Afterlife (Acre Books) and the three linked volumes Ephemeron, Skandalon, and Eon (LSU Press). Former editor in chief of The Kenyon Review, of The New England Review, and of The Georgia Review, he has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship in poetry, a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Grant in Poetry, the Richard Wright Award for Artistic Excellence, the Hanes Poetry Prize, and the Donald Justice Award in Poetry. He lives in Cold Spring, New York.
T.R. Hummer

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Author: T.R. Hummer

T. R. Hummer’s most recent books of poetry are After the Afterlife (Acre Books) and the three linked volumes Ephemeron, Skandalon, and Eon (LSU Press). Former editor in chief of The Kenyon Review, of The New England Review, and of The Georgia Review, he has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship in poetry, a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Grant in Poetry, the Richard Wright Award for Artistic Excellence, the Hanes Poetry Prize, and the Donald Justice Award in Poetry. He lives in Cold Spring, New York.