A sunny day. Cold—-
but still. World pleased with itself.
A long-suffering

manhole cover, its
inscription deep in frost, shines.
Each bit in relief.

Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at and other sites.

2 thoughts on “Relief”

  1. This is a beautifully-crafted wave of a poem, its motion becomingclear at the nodes ‘…itself’/ ‘… shines’/ ‘… relief’. The world’s being pleased with itself seems undercut by the attribution of longsuffering patience to the manhole cover, and yet that pleasingness is reconfigured as charis, sparkle, delight, at once inner and outer, in the final line’s observation ‘each bit in relief’, the dimension given by light and poet adn reader and coutnless observers and by the manhole cover’s overdeterminate givenness realized in the poem.


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