Edward Hopper: South Truro Post Office, I, 1930
Isn’t the original Truro in Cornwall,
A broad peninsula of craggy ports and harbors,
And coves that tempted pirates and smugglers,
And spies from the continent?
This place looks a lot more peaceful,
Though awfully isolated. The few locals
Couldn’t have generated much work for
The skeleton crew, but Hopper wouldn’t
That year have wasted much effort on them
If the field had been ‘full of folk.”
And now we may be about to eliminate,
Or drastically reduce, the number of postal employees
In our own era of the smart phone, and the dumbed down
Communications. Even our greeting cards—our Valentines,
for God’s sake—are exchanged online.
Our most intimate connections with each other
Are like, for instance, when the woman roaring up to me
As I sat waiting for a light to change at an intersection,
Looked up from texting, in my rear-view mirror,
Too late to avoid skidding, unbraked, into my modest
Ford Focus: “Shiver Me Timbers, lads,” indeed.
As an educator, I’m pretty sure our eloquence—if not
Even our literacy—has fallen off a cliff since we gave up
On the English language about the same time we also
Abandoned foreign and classical language study
In favor of the social “sciences” and cranial purification
Fifty-five years ago. As Ring Lardner would have said,
“You can look it up!” Yes, R-I-N-G . . . oh, never mind!
During his impressionistic period, Edward Hopper
Was more interested in isolated, unoccupied,
Brick buildings than windows with companionless
Women staring out of them anyway.
As for books, even after the last one is burned,
Forests will still morph into hard copies.