17 October 2008

What We Wait For

October in Minnesota is, for me, a beautiful yet tense month--the cold
air bearable, even novel, but beginning to hint at months of hunched
shoulders to come. This poem by John Ashbery catches that feeling for
me: the fullness of harvest, the ominous (promising? frightening?)
sense of something oncoming (winter or otherwise).


Somewhere someone is traveling furiously toward you,
At incredible speed, traveling day and night,
Through blizzards and desert heat, across torrents, through
narrow passes.
But will he know where to find you,
Recognize you when he sees you,
Give you the thing he has for you?
Hardly anything grows here,
Yet the granaries are bursting with meal,
The sacks of meal piled to the rafters.
The streams run with sweetness, fattening fish;
Birds darken the sky. Is it enough
That the dish of milk is set out at night,
That we think of him sometimes,
Sometimes and always, with mixed feelings?

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