Letter to America by Christian Wiman

One Poem

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Rich men whose souls are silos
from which their lives have long ago been launched
squeak as they sink in deep embosoming chairs.
How they love their nooks of oak and nineteenth-century light!
They do not mind the golden rule, as it is called,
not to speak of business here. They do not need to.
Even now, out in the screech and lurch this peace
obliterates, money, immunity, metastasizes.
Attended by brief embodiments, shadows with hands,
living whispers, the rich men nod their needs.
And when they’ve downed one dusk, they have another.




Christian Wiman’s Hammer is the Prayer: Selected Poems is just out with Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He teaches at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music.

Header photo of University Club of Chicago by Jovan J via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.


Terrain.org is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.