I imagine Dickens with pen, sitting.

Fountains running.  Micawber tilting.

Heels rising.  Head rolling.  “In short,


And poor Copperfield.

The “tumbrils turning.”

Drops of ink, reclusive.

First rivulets,

then torrents, of abuse, tears…

intrigues, dangers, eccentricities…

the Shadow, Madams Defarge and Haversham

and poor Sidney Carton.

“It is a far, far better thing…”

That life in a drafty, poorly lit manage

of clattering hansoms, slimed streets and

gamey stench…

chimney pots silhouetted in the brown London air:


that souls spouting forth like sparks from a

thousand sweat shops and warm coal grates

smuggled in white, first read Dickens

at Christmas.

Where soot-covered boots left imprints

from grill to coalyard,

between the dark carriage ruts

and the blowing teams of beasts

in gathering clowds of ice.

And in the wee hours,

wee heirs.

                                             – by Carl Nelson


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