Readings in Contemporary Poetry

Mark Strand


I am writing from a place you have never been,

Where the trains don't run, and planes

Don't land, a place to the west,

Where heavy hedges of snow surround each house,

Where the wind screams at the moon's blank face,

Where the people are plain, and fashions,

If they come, come late and are seen

As forms of oppression, sources of sorrow.

This is a place that sparkles a bit at 7 p.m.,

Then goes out, and slides into the funeral home

Of the stars, and everyone dreams of floating

Like angels in sweet-smelling habits,

Of being released from sundry services

Into the round of pleasures there for the asking --

Days like pages torn from a family album,

Endless reunions, the heavenly choir at the barbecue

Adjusting its tone to serve the occasion,

And everyone staring, stunned into magnitude.

copyright 1994, from Dark Harbor