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The Curtain Analysis

Author: poem of Hayden Carruth Type: poem Views: 10

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Just over the horizon a great machine of death is roaring and


One can hear it always. Earthquake, starvation, the ever-

    renewing field of corpse-flesh.

In this valley the snow falls silently all day and out our window

We see the curtain of it shifting and folding, hiding us away in

    our little house,

We see earth smoothened and beautified, made like a fantasy, the

    snow-clad trees

So graceful in a dream of peace. In our new bed, which is big

    enough to seem like the north pasture almost

With our two cats, Cooker and Smudgins, lying undisturbed in

    the southeastern and southwestern corners,

We lie loving and warm, looking out from time to time.

    "Snowbound," we say. We speak of the poet

Who lived with his young housekeeper long ago in the

    mountains of the western province, the kingdom

Of complete cruelty, where heads fell like wilted flowers and

    snow fell for many months across the mouth

Of the pass and drifted deep in the vale. In our kitchen the

    maple-fire murmurs

In our stove. We eat cheese and new-made bread and jumbo

    Spanish olives

That have been steeped in our special brine of jalapeños and

    garlic and dill and thyme.

We have a nip or two from the small inexpensive cognac that

    makes us smile and sigh.

For a while we close the immense index of images

    which is

Our lives--for instance, the child on the Mescalero reservation

    in New Mexico in 1966

Sitting naked in the dirt outside his family's hut of tin and


Covered with sores, unable to speak. But of course the child is

    here with us now,

We cannot close the index. How will we survive? We don't and

    cannot know.

Beyond the horizon a great unceasing noise is undeniable. The


May break through and come lurching into our valley at any

    moment, at any moment.

Cheers, baby. Here's to us. See how the curtain of snow wavers

    and falls back.


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