Share This Poem: “1911,” by Ron Smith.

BROAD STREET invites you to enjoy this poem from our “Maps & Legends” issue. It’s presented here as a broadside to download and print out — or you can scroll past and read the whole poem in plain text (though you’ll miss out on special indentations, alas).

The Salon d’Automne of 1912, held in Paris at the Grand Palais, showcased Cubist works. Wikimedia Commons.
Drag this poem to your desktop to print out and enjoy.


A stone fell from the sky into Egypt,

(killed a dog),Cubism into the language,

Madox Ford onto the floor, rolling . . .


Marinetti slapped a London gent

with a fine Italian glove.

Rome unveiled its wedding cake,


Richmond a school on Grove

for gentlemen, scholars.

Hundreds of words for snow


fell on the baffled Eskimo,

Edward Weston’s Tropico stretched

under the palms, and Rorschach


smeared suggestive shapes we

all pretended not to see,

Tolsoy had his first year being


dead, Cavafy sailed off

in all directions, Yeats moved

upon the shadowy waters . . .


Hubert Humphrey saw the light,

Mahler, Gilbert, Pulitzer the dark,

George Moore lugged his crystal ideals


off to Cambridge . . . Portugal pulled

the plug on the One True Church, and

China killed already dead Confucius


just as FDR entered the NY Senate.

They just kept coming, trochees tumbling:

Ronald Reagan, William Golding, bawling


babies, pure potential! Not to mention

a star fell in Egypt, killed a dog,

and the world began anew.


Ron Smith recently served as the Poet Laureate of Virginia, and he is the Writer-in-Residence at St. Christopher’s School in Richmond.

His books are Running Again in Hollywood Cemetery, Moon Road, Its Ghostly Workshop, and The Humility of the Brutes.


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