Richard Ghormley Eberhart (April 5, 1904 – June 9, 2005) was an American poet who published more than a dozen books of poetry.
Eberhart won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Selected Poems, 1930–1965 and the 1977 National Book Award for Poetry for Collected Poems, 1930–1976.
THE HARD STRUCTURE OF THE WORLD
Is made up of reservoirs,
Birds flying South, mailmen
Snow falling or rain falling,
Railmen, Howard Johnson and airmen
Birds of Paradise
Silk lined caskets
Prize poems and guitars,
Beatitudes and bestiaries,
Children taught contemporary manners,
Time taking time away
With a haymaker or a sleigh,
Hope always belaboring despair.
Form is a jostle, a throstle,
Life a slice of sleight,
Indians are looking out from the
Cheekbones of Connecticut Yankees,
Poltergeists deploy northward
To tinderboxes in cupboards in Maine,
The last chock knocked, the vessel
Would not go down the Damariscotta
Until the sick captain’s four-poster,
Moved to the window by four oldsters
Gave him a sight of her, and
He gave her a beautiful sign,
And there was the witch of Nobleboro
Who confounded the native farmers
Who, having lost the plow-bolt
Right at their feet, found it
Concealed in her apron: she laughed,
And made the earth fecund again.
The hard structure of the world,
The world structure of illusion.
From seeing too much of the world
We do not understand it.
There is something unknown in knowing.
Unfaith is what keeps faith going.
THE FURY OF AERIAL BOMBARDMENT
You would think the fury of aerial bombardment
Would rouse God to relent; the infinite spaces
Are still silent. He looks on shock-pried faces.
History, even, does not know what is meant.
You would feel that after so many centuries
God would give man to repent; yet he can kill
As Cain could, but with multitudinous will,
No farther advanced than in his ancient furies.
Was man made stupid to see his own stupidity?
Is God by definition indifferent, beyond us all?
Is the eternal truth man’s fighting soul
Wherein the Beast ravens in its own avidity?
Of Van Wettering I speak, and Averill,
Names on a list, whose faces I do not recall
But they are gone to early death, who late in school
Distinguished the belt feed lever from the belt holding pawl.