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John Wheelwright - 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. 

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Added: Feb 20 2003 | Viewed: 5360 times | Comments and analysis of Train Ride by John Wheelwright Comments (2)

Train Ride - Comments and Information

Poet: John Wheelwright
Poem: Train Ride
Poem of the Day: Mar 28 2009

Comment 2 of 2, added on December 5th, 2012 at 1:28 PM.
Train Ride

Can someone please explain to me what this poem is about in an analytical sense? I believe I have the general jest of it, but I am not too sure I have fully analyzed it...
Thank you all very much for any/all suggestions! :)


Rajiv from United States
Comment 1 of 2, added on June 29th, 2008 at 5:15 PM.

I ENJOYED THIS POEM SO MUCH WHAT A WONDERFUL THOUGHT FELT LIKE I WAS ON THE TRAIN RIDE.NICE WRITE I HOPE TO SEE MORE FROM YOU SOON

WILIAM from United States

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