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Train Ride Analysis

Author: poem of John Wheelwright Type: poem Views: 17

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For Horace Gregory

After rain, through afterglow, the unfolding fan

of railway landscape sidled onthe pivot

of a larger arc into the green of evening;

I remembered that noon I saw a gradual bud

still white; though dead in its warm bloom;

always the enemy is the foe at home.

And I wondered what surgery could recover

our lost, long stride of indolence and leisure

which is labor in reverse; what physic recall the smile

not of lips, but of eyes as of the sea bemused.

We, when we disperse from common sleep to several

tasks, we gather to despair; we, who assembled

once for hopes from common toil to dreams

or sickish and hurting or triumphal rapture;

always our enemy is our foe at home.

We, deafened with far scattered city rattles

to the hubbub of forest birds (never having

"had time" to grieve or to hear through vivid sleep

the sea knock on its cracked and hollow stones)

so that the stars, almost, and birds comply,

and the garden-wet; the trees retire; We are

a scared patrol, fearing the guns behind;

always the enemy is the foe at home.

What wonder that we fear our own eyes' look

and fidget to be at home alone, and pitifully

put of age by some change in brushing the hair

and stumble to our ends like smothered runners at their tape;

We follow our shreds of fame into an ambush.

Then (as while the stars herd to the great trough

the blind, in the always-only-outward of their dismantled

archways, awake at the smell of warmed stone

or the sound of reeds, lifting from the dim

into the segment of green dawn) always

our enemy is our foe at home
, more

certainly than through spoken words or from grief-

twisted writing on paper, unblotted by tears

the thought came:

There is no physic

for the world's ill, nor surgery; it must

(hot smell of tar on wet salt air)

burn in fever forever, an incense pierced

with arrows, whose name is Love and another name

Rebellion (the twinge, the gulf, split seconds,

the very raindrops, render, and instancy

of Love).

All Poetry to this not-to-be-looked-upon sun

of Passion is the moon's cupped light; all

Politics to this moon, a moon's reflected

cupped light, like the moon of Rome, after

the deep well of Grecian light sank low;

always the enemy is the foe at home.

But these three are friends whose arms twine

without words; as, in still air,

the great grove leans to wind, past and to come.


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