Verse > Anthologies > Alfred Kreymborg, ed. > Others for 1919
Alfred Kreymborg, ed.  Others for 1919.  1920.
Dock Rats
By Marianne Moore
THERE are human beings who seem to regard the place
  as craftily as we do—who seem to feel that it is a
  good place to come home to. On what a river;
  wide—twinkling like a chopped sea under some
    of the finest shipping in the        5
world: the square-rigged four-master, the liner, the
  battleship like the two-thirds submerged section of
  an iceberg; the tug—strong-moving thing, dip-
  ping and pushing, the bell striking as it comes; the
    steam yacht, lying like a new made arrow on the        10
stream; the ferry-boat—a head assigned, one to
  each compartment, making a row of chessmen set
  for play. When the wind is from the east, the
  smell is of apples; of hay, the aroma increased and
    decreased suddenly as the wind changes;        15
of rope; of mountain leaves for florists. When it is
  from the west, it is an elixir. There is oc-
  casionally a parokeet
  arrived from Brazil, clasping and clawing; or a
    monkey—tail and feet in readiness for an over-        20
ture. All palms and tail; how delightful! There is
  the sea, moving the bulkhead with its horse
  strength; and the multiplicity of rudders and pro-
  pellors; the signals, shrill, questioning, per-
    emptory, diverse; the wharf cats and the barge dogs—it        25
is easy to overestimate the value of such things.
  One does not live in such a place from motives of
  expediency but because to one who has been ac-
    customed to it, shipping is the most congenial thing in the world.

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