Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sonnets for Lily Yukon - 5. The Great Northern

This is your final notice the stars announced Clear out!
it's astounding what a desolation of phone poles &
        clotheslines—the
shirts & trousers hanging there frozen—lurched into the wind's
        mouth but
it wasn't wind, it was the Great White Whale itself plunging
        like the

Great Northern Freight Train pitched into infinity, like a house
        that can't stop moving;
& it wasn't a house, it was an abyss inside my pocket with my
        cigarettes; or else it was a frozen waste the train moans a
        formidable zero while traversing; but listen, there's no
hopelessness much emptier than this here boxcar;

The engineer doesn't know much anymore,
for instance whether his home's still underwater or which station
        comes next:
Tungsten, Old Crow, Antarus—some star that's the clue from 500
        crosswords I never
remember one Sunday to the next, which between horizons is
        10,000
miles; it's true you said:
if you miss the train I'm on you will know that I am gone

Jack Hayes
© 1990-2010

6 comments:

Poetikat said...

There's a real bleakness to this one and a sadness too. Amazing how images can convey the empty-gut feeling of the end of a relationship.

I liked the Great White Whale line, but my favourite was the "abyss inside my pocket" line. Will be thinking of that every time I hunt for loose change, I think.

I am always grateful to be party to these transcribed inner workings of your past mind John.

Kat

John Hayes said...

Hi Kat: I'm always grateful to have you as a reader, Kat--thanks!

Pearl said...

Coming out of the shadows to tell you how much I enjoy your stuff.

:-)

Pearl

John Hayes said...

Hi Pearl: & thanks! Very much appreciated. I want to check out your blog--I gave it a quick look the other day & it looked intriguing.

Totalfeckineejit said...

'if you miss the train I'm on you will know that I am gone'

How wonderful is that? Poignant and enigmatic all rolled into one.

John Hayes said...

Hi TFE: Stolen from a folk song, of course, but that line has always resonated with me! Thanks.