“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 learned that I had the ability to capture the attention of an audience and evoke emotion from them. When I recited my first poem in 9th grade for a mock POL class competition, I was incredibly shy and barely audible. But eventually I grew to love sharing the emotions poems gave me."
Chiara Raimondo
2016 NY POL Champion