Archives for posts with tag: railroad

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I decided to paint the image of a locomotive . . . In order for its mystery to be evoked, [and] another immediately familiar image without mystery—the image of a dining room fireplace—was joined.” René Magritte

PAINTING: “Time Transfixed” by René Magritte (1898-1967), permanent collection, Art Institute of Chicago.

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LIVING AT THE END OF TIME
by Robert  Bly

There is so much sweetness in children’s voices,
And so much discontent at the end of day,
And so much satisfaction when a train goes by.
 
I don’t know why the rooster keeps crying,
Nor why elephants keep raising their trunks,
Nor why Hawthorne kept hearing trains at night.
 
A handsome child is a gift from God,
And a friend is a vein in the back of the hand,
And a wound is an inheritance from the wind.
 
Some say we are living at the end of time,
But I believe a thousand pagan ministers
Will arrive tomorrow to baptize the wind.
 
There’s nothing we need to do about John. The Baptist
Has been laying his hands on earth for so long
That the well water is sweet for a hundred miles.
 
It’s all right if we don’t know what the rooster
Is saying in the middle of the night, nor why we feel
So much satisfaction when a train goes by.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Robert Bly (born December 23, 1926) is an American poet and author of Iron John: A Book About Men (1990), a key text of the mythopoetic men’s movement, which spent 62 weeks on the The New York Times Best Seller list. He won the 1968 National Book Award for Poetry for his book The Light Around the Body. (Read more at wikipedia.org.)

PHOTO: “Train at Sunset, New Mexico” (1941) by Jack Delano.

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THE TRAIN
by David Orr

Not that anyone will care,
But as I was sitting there
 
On the 8:07
To New Haven,
 
I was struck by lightning.
The strangest thing
 
Wasn’t the flash of my hair
Catching on fire,
 
But the way people pretended
Nothing had happened.
 
For me, it was real enough.
But it seemed as if
 
The others saw this as nothing
But a way of happening,
 
A way to get from one place
To another place,
 
But not a place itself.
So, ignored, I burned to death.
 
Later, someone sat in my seat
And my ashes ruined his suit.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Orr writes the column “On Poetry” for the New York Times Book Review. He is the author of Beautiful & Pointless: A Guide to Modern Poetry (HarperCollins, 2011).