A Poem About George Doty In The Death House by James Wright
Lured by the wall, and drawn To stare below the roof, Where pigeons nest aloof From prowling cats and men, I count the sash and bar Secured to granite stone, And note the daylight gone, Supper and silence near.
Close to the wall inside, Immured, empty of love, A man I have wondered of Lies patient, vacant-eye. A month and a day ago He stopped his car and found A girl on the darkening ground, And killed her in the snow.
Beside his cell, I am told, Hardy perennial bums Complain till twilight comes For hunger and for cold. They hardly know of a day That saw their hunger pass. Bred to the dark, their flesh Peacefully withers away.
The man who sits alone, He is the one for wonder, Who sways his fingers under The cleanly shaven chin, Who sees, in the shaving mirror Pinned to the barren wall, The uprooted ghost of all: The simple, easy terror.
Caught between sky and earth, Poor stupid animal, Stripped naked to the wall, He saw the blundered birth Of daemons beyond sound. Sick of the dark, he rose For love, and now he goes Back to the broken ground.
Now, as he grips the chain And holds the wall, to bear What no man ever bore, He hears the bums complain; But I mourn no soul but his, Not even the bums who die, Nor the homely girl whose cry Crumbled his pleading kiss.