Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TRIP-HAMMER WITH OVERTONES, by THOMAS DEL VECCHIO



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TRIP-HAMMER WITH OVERTONES, by            
First Line: Only idealists fight wide open
Last Line: But you'll know him in victory.
Subject(s): Fights; Hate


Only idealists fight wide open
Making fancy moves, each one an essay,
While the crafty fellows, more rugged,
Get in the dirty work
When the referee isn't looking.
The arc of a blow may thrill in retrospect,
But who sprawls first,
Whose blood muddies the canvas,
Is what counts in a brawl.

Give me a cool and simple-seeming chap
With a snakey left that looks harmless;
A lithe, poised fellow a wind could tip over
Until you try it.
Fly in to finish him
And his left will blind you;
Sneak over a low one
And your jaw pays usury.
Fists and body carved for slaughter
When there's butchering to be done,
He'll close one of your eyes
Before he breaks your nose,
And then your teeth will answer for it.
Teasing you into range,
He whistles over a right
That makes the canvas burst
Under your brain.

This fellow loathes you and your game;
If he picks you up
There'll be no mercy in it.
He carries his heart in a safe place;
His brain is the trip-hammer that whips the bullets at his side.
But you'll know him in victory.





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