Night Shift, by Sylvia Plath

1 March 2015

It was not a heart, beating,
That muted boom, that clangor
Far off, not blood in the ears
Drumming up and fever

To impose on the evening.
The noise came from outside:
A metal detonating
Native, evidently, to

These stilled suburbs: nobody
Startled at it, though the sound
Shook the ground with its pounding.
It took a root at my coming

Till the thudding source, exposed,
Counfounded in wept guesswork:
Framed in windows of Main Street’s
Silver factory, immense

Hammers hoisted, wheels turning,
Stalled, let fall their vertical
Tonnage of metal and wood;
Stunned in marrow. Men in white

Undershirts circled, tending
Without stop those greased machines,
Tending, without stop, the blunt
Indefatigable fact.

[Read in Collected Poems, published by Faber & Faber.]

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