I ran across this poem today while reading an article in English Journal about the Toulmin model of argumentation.  What a serendipity.


Even as we watched from my writing class

a man kick the trashcan in front of school,

yelling I will not eat your fucking garbage,

my students had the decency not to laugh,

but to settle into their desks to write.

One student, a Hindu girl, asked to be

excused, and we watched her at the curb

give the man her sack lunch.  I remember

thinking at the time, that we can begin

and end each day with even: even

as the sun crests the eastern edge of

the ridge, a peregrine swoops from

the gargoyle on the Commerce building

and takes a pigeon from the street; even

as the sun melts the horizon like an egg

yoke, the old woman pushes her rubble

from 8th Avenue into the alley full

of dumpsters, and one has to admire

how sweetly she cares for the faded baby-

doll in the child sear of her grocery cart.

–Bill Brown

English Journal July 2010

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One Response to Frame

  1. Florida Ellis says:

    Lindsay, The poem is intriguing, but I am interested in its relation to the Toulman model of argumentation – especially since I have no idea what that model is about. In the beginning there is a relationship between the ‘even’ clause and what came after: the class had to be watching to see the man kick the can. Most of the class chose to return to the task at hand, but one student chose generosity. I can’t quite grasp the significance of the pairings that follow. I am on a Delta flight back to Buffolo, NY at the moment. We chose to take a day out of our week at Chautauqua to go home to say good-bye to Elsie Gould. She went into hospice on Sunday and Stuart said on Tuesday that he did not expect her to last through the night. When she did, we decided to go home – to see Elsie if that was possible and to be with Stuart in any case. We did get to see her though she was asleep while we were there. It is good that we were there. Today is our 49th anniversary. Fifty June 26s ago we began our married life together! I love you, Mom

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