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Best Famous John Wheelwright Poems

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Written by John Wheelwright | Create an image from this poem

Train Ride

 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.