“Schoolboys with Dog, Winter” by William Matthews
Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools, Hosted by Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003
Schoolboys with Dog, Winter
It’s dark when they scuff off to school. It’s good to trample the thin panes of casual ice along the track where twice a week a freight that used to stop here lugs grain and radiator hoses past us to a larger town. It’s good to cloud the paling mirror of the dawn sky with your mouthwashed breath, and to trash and stamp against the way you’ve been overdressed and pudged into your down jacket like a pastel sausage, and to be cruel to the cringing dog and then to thump it and hug it and croon to it nicknames. At last the pale sun rolls over the horizon. And look! The frosted windows of the schoolhouse gleam.
from Foreseeable Futures, 1987
Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, NY
Copyright 1987 by William Matthews.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company from Foreseeable Futures, 1987. Copyright 1987 by William Matthews. For further permissions information, contact Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Ave. South, New York, NY 10003.
About the Poet
William Matthews (1942–1997) was the author of 11 poetry collections, including Time and Money (1996), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. Search Party: Collected Poems of William Matthews, was published posthumously by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2004.
Learn more about William Matthews at The Poetry Foundation.