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The Orient Express

 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.

by Randall Jarrell
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