Delmore Schwartz |
"I have been one acquainted with the night" - Robert Frost
Rode in the train all night, in the sick light.
Flew parallel with a singular will.
In daydream's moods and
The other passengers slumped, dozed, slept, read,
Waiting, and waiting for place to be displaced
On the exact track of safety or the rack of accident.
Looked out at the night, unable to distinguish
Lights in the towns of passage from the yellow lights
Numb on the ceiling.
And the bird flew parallel and still
As the train shot forth the straight line of its whistle,
Forward on the taut tracks, piercing empty, familiar --
The bored center of this vision and condition looked and
Down through the slick pages of the magazine (seeking
The seen and the unseen) and his gaze fell down the well
Of the great darkness under the slick glitter,
And he was only one among eight million riders and
And all the while under his empty smile the shaking drum
Of the long determined passage passed through him
By his body mimicked and echoed.
And then the train
Like a suddenly storming rain, began to rush and thresh--
The silent or passive night, pressing and impressing
The patients' foreheads with a tightening-like image
Of the rushing engine proceeded by a shaft of light
Piercing the dark, changing and transforming the silence
Into a violence of foam, sound, smoke and succession.
A bored child went to get a cup of water,
And crushed the cup because the water too was
Boring and merely boredom's struggle.
The child, returning, looked over the shoulder
Of a man reading until he annoyed the shoulder.
A fat woman yawned and felt the liquid drops
Drip down the fleece of many dinners.
And the bird flew parallel and parallel flew
The black pencil lines of telephone posts, crucified,
At regular intervals, post after post
Of thrice crossed, blue-belled, anonymous trees.
And then the bird cried as if to all of us:
0 your life, your lonely life
What have you ever done with it,
And done with the great gift of consciousness?
What will you ever do with your life before death's
Provides the answer ultimate and appropriate?
As I for my part felt in my heart as one who falls,
Falls in a parachute, falls endlessly, and feel the vast
Draft of the abyss sucking him down and down,
An endlessly helplessly falling and appalled clown:
This is the way that night passes by, this
Is the overnight endless trip to the famous unfathomable
Delmore Schwartz |
(Robert Frost, 1875-1963)
Whose wood this is I think I know:
He made it sacred long ago:
He will expect me, far or near
To watch that wood immense with snow.
That famous horse must feel great fear
Now that his noble rider's no longer here:
He gives his harness bells to rhyme
--Perhaps he will be back, in time?
All woulds were promises he kept
Throughout the night when others slept:
Now that he knows all that he did not know,
His wood is holy, and full of snow,
and all the beauty he made holy long long ago
In Boston, London, Washington,
And once by the Pacific and once in Moscow:
and now, and now
upon the fabulous blue river ever
or singing from a great white bough
And wherever America is, now as before,
and now as long, long ago
He sleeps and wakes forever more!
"0 what a metaphysical victory
The first day and night of death must be!"
John Berryman |
The Russian grin bellows his condolence
tÃ³ the family: ah but it's Kay,
& Ted, & Chris & Anne,
Henry thinks of: who eased his fearful way
from here, in here, to there.
This wants thought.
I won't make it out.
Maybe the source of noble such may come
clearer to dazzled Henry.
It may come.
I'd say it will come with pain,
I'd rather leave it alone.
I do leave it alone.
And down with the listener.
Now he has become, abrupt, an industry.
Professional-Friends-Of-Robert-Frost all over
gap wide their mouths
while the quirky medium of so many truths
Let's be quiet.
Let us listen:
â€”What for, Mr Bones?
â€”while he begins to have it out with Horace.