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The Orient Express Analysis

Author: Poetry of Randall Jarrell Type: Poetry Views: 112

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One looks from the train

Almost as one looked as a child. In the sunlight

What I see still seems to me plain,

I am safe; but at evening

As the lands darken, a questioning

Precariousness comes over everything.

Once after a day of rain

I lay longing to be cold; after a while

I was cold again, and hunched shivering

Under the quilt's many colors, gray

With the dull ending of the winter day,

Outside me there were a few shapes

Of chairs and tables, things from a primer;

Outside the window

There were the chairs and tables of the world ...

I saw that the world

That had seemed to me the plain

Gray mask of all that was strange

Behind it -- of all that was -- was all.

But it is beyond belief.

One thinks, "Behind everything

An unforced joy, an unwilling

Sadness (a willing sadness, a forced joy)

Moves changelessly"; one looks from the train

And there is something, the same thing

Behind everything: all these little villages,

A passing woman, a field of grain,

The man who says good-bye to his wife --

A path through a wood all full of lives, and the train

Passing, after all unchangeable

And not now ever to stop, like a heart --

It is like any other work of art,

It is and never can be changed.

Behind everything there is always

The unknown unwanted life.


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