Poetry November 2009

Villanelle with a Refrain from the Wall Street Journal

Listen the poet read this poem aloud.

Your twenties, thirties, forties, you’re a bull—
if you think of life as something like the Dow.
Though death of course is unavoidable,

you’re rising so fast rising’s almost dull,
your daily highs untested by a low.
Your twenties, thirties, forties, you’re a bull,

and life, for now, is fast and overfull—
for now, you might say, chuckling, for now
though death, of course, is unavoidable.

You’re savvy enough, I’m sure, and fully able
to plan for when the market starts to slow.
Your twenties, thirties, forties, you’re a bull,

and all your hours, all, are billable,
as you tell others what, but mostly how,
though death, of course, is unavoidable.

Like contracts, life is fully voidable,
allow deferring soon to disallow.
Your twenties, thirties, forties, you’re a bull,
though death, of course, is unavoidable.

Presented by

Andrew Hudgins’s American Rendering: New and Selected Poems is forthcoming this spring. He teaches at Ohio State University.

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her middle school. Then Humans of New York told her story to the Internet—and everything changed.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

Video

What Fifty Shades Left Out

A straightforward guide to BDSM

More in Entertainment

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In