Monday, December 10, 2007

Espirit d'escalator

Descending into the Dupont Metro Station from the northern entrance at 20th & P, you may have noticed that thirty years after its completion the circular rim haloing the escalators has been written on. It's the last stanza of the Gay Gray Poet's "The Wound-Dresser" (a timely reminiscence of the horrors of war to a later, glory-struck generation):

Thus in silence in dreams' projections,
Returning, resuming, I thred my way through the hospitals,
The hurt and wounded I pacify with soothing hand,
I sit by the restless all the dark night, some are so young,
Some suffer so much, I recall the experience sweet and sad,

The next two lines, concluding the poem, are

(Many a soldier's loving arms about this neck have cross'd and rested,
Many a soldier's kiss dwells on these bearded lips.)

Homophobic? I don't think so. They are in parenthesis (representing interior monologue), and the rim does seem filled.

1 comment:

C4bl3Fl4m3 said...

There was an article about this in the Express. It's a memorial to HIV/AIDS caregivers. There's also a new circle of benches with more poetry encircling them.

I work in Dupont Circle and pass by that every day. I remember as they were doing the work on it, watching the words unfold a few at a time, and guessing "oh, I bet it's Walt Whitman. I hope it's Walt Whitman. That would be so cool!" And, lo and behold, one day they finished it, and it was.