Monday, January 22, 2007

Poem of the Week 1/23/2007


You there, in the middle of your mind,
curled up into a ball but wide awake--
I am awake like you, in the same bed

hearing the train that when it passes
means it's almost morning, though the sky
is dark, though the highway is quiet.

You can follow the train in your mind,
but you cannot follow the train
from little town to little town to Boston,

where in the dark the transactions happen--
something poured, something filled,
something dropped off, something taken--

happen among the loud men at the wharf
before their very first sign of dawn,
and the train in Boston turns around.

I wish our minds were like the train,
passing once a night through the woods,
fading out among the lights and termini,

its load of oil or metal going some place
they want it, returning in the morning,
its mile-long belly not empty, not hungry;

not the wharf, accepting train after train
of junk from the provinces all night,
a throat that tries and tries to swallow dirt.

Dan Chiasson 2006

Now this is a lovely, lonely poem, a meditation on the mind of man and the thoughts of night. Several things are at work: rhythm, long phrases and sentences, and a symbolic explanation of distraction and thought. This poem discusses much that has been passing through my mind--restlessness, hunger, loneliness, the fact that we don't will thought but that it comes to us...

I don't know whether I want to write about this any more or not... it is a beautiful poem, lovely in tone and in content both.

Here's something, everybody, and I don't write this lightly. I don't know if the Poem of the Week is right for me any more. I am doing it more out of mechanical habit than real love for these poems, and that doesn't seem right to me. More and more I find myself wanting to repeat poems, becuase some of the poems that have nestled themselves in my chest aren't going to leave. So... I don't know about the future of the poem of the week. It's something that I will have to think about, and I am sorry that I might think of changing or abandoning this.


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