Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Poet: Philip Levine, “Another Song”

“Another Song”

“Words go on travelling from voice 
to voice while the phones are still 
and the wires hum in the cold. Now 
and then dark winter birds settle 
slowly on the crossbars, where huddled 
they caw out their loneliness. Except 
for them the March world is white 
and barely alive. The train to Providence 
moans somewhere near the end 
of town, and the churning of metal 
on metal from so many miles away 
is only a high thin note trilling 
the frozen air. Years ago I lived 
not far from here, grown to fat 
and austerity, a man who came 
closely shaven to breakfast and ate 
in silence and left punctually, alone, 
for work. So it was I saw it all 
and turned away to where snow 
fell into snow and the wind spoke 
in the incomprehensible syllable 
of wind, and I could be anyone: 
a man whose life lay open before him, 
a book with no ending, a widow 
bearing white carnations at dusk 
to a hillside graveyard turned 
to blank rubble, a cinder floating 
down to earth and blinking slowly out, 
too small to mean a thing, too tired 
to even sigh. If life comes back, 
as we are told it does, each time one 
step closer to the edge of truth, 
then I am ready for the dawn 
that calls a sullen boy from sleep 
rubbing his eyes on a white window 
and knowing none of it can last the day."

- Philip Levine

No comments:

Post a Comment