“A equals X,” says Mister One.   
“A equals B,” says Mister Two.   
“A equals nothing under the sun   
But A,” says Mister Three. A few   
Applaud; some wipe their eyes;   
Some linger in the shade to see   
One and Two in neat disguise   
Decapitating Mister Three.

“This age is not entirely bad.”
It’s bad enough, God knows, but you   
Should know Elizabethans had   
Sweeneys and Mrs. Porters too.   
The past goes down and disappears,   
The present stumbles home to bed,   
The future stretches out in years
That no one knows, and you’ll be dead.

  • Weldon Kees, "The Speakers" from The Collected Poems of Weldon Kees edited by Donald Justice by permission of the University of Nebraska Press. Copyright 1962, 1975, by the University of Nebraska Press. © renewed 2003 by the University of Nebraska Press.

  • Source: The Collected Poems of Weldon Kees (2003)

Poet Bio

What People are Saying

"I do Poetry Out Loud because the everyday me is very shy and easily stumbles over words, mangling meaning and botching simple conversations. Yet, when I recite poetry it is an opportunity for me to become someone else––an embodiment of the poem. Slowly, step by step, I think Poetry Out Loud is helping me to become a braver, more confident person, even if I still tremble when I get on stage."
Rose Horowitz
2015 ME POL Champion