Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Great Divide

There is an eastern continental
divide in North America,
announced mostly by signs 
along the highways that cross it,
a modest cousin to its
western counterpart.

To have stood at the crest
of each is an unexpected 
and finally imponderable
bookend that carries less
weight than it should. 

It was the roads between that mattered.

Epic histories were invented
when the interstates
were laid, engineers ensuring
all paths would one day cross.

It rarely fails to amaze
that you can awaken
one morning in Chicago
and the next in Denver
if you drive straight through
and avoid the temptation
to stop for sweet corn in West Point
or see the sandhill cranes
outside Kearney.

Poetic engineers built
curves in long, straight roads
to help prevent drivers
from falling asleep—
compelling evidence
that straight lines and boredom
are occasionally fatal.

--Martin A. Bartels

1 comment:

  1. On a road trip, my father once told me they put curves in roads to help prevent people from falling asleep at the wheel. I don't know if it's true, but it stuck with me.