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Another Song Analysis

Author: poem of Philip Levine Type: poem Views: 10

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Words go on travelling from voice

to voice while the phones are still

and the wires hum in the cold. Now

and then dark winter birds settle

slowly on the crossbars, where huddled

they caw out their loneliness. Except

for them the March world is white

and barely alive. The train to Providence

moans somewhere near the end

of town, and the churning of metal

on metal from so many miles away

is only a high thin note trilling

the frozen air. Years ago I lived

not far from here, grown to fat

and austerity, a man who came

closely shaven to breakfast and ate

in silence and left punctually, alone,

for work. So it was I saw it all

and turned away to where snow

fell into snow and the wind spoke

in the incomprehensible syllable

of wind, and I could be anyone:

a man whose life lay open before him,

a book with no ending, a widow

bearing white carnations at dusk

to a hillside graveyard turned

to blank rubble, a cinder floating

down to earth and blinking slowly out,

too small to mean a thing, too tired

to even sigh. If life comes back,

as we are told it does, each time one

step closer to the edge of truth,

then I am ready for the dawn

that calls a sullen boy from sleep

rubbing his eyes on a white window

and knowing none of it can last the day.


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