Tuesday, March 9, 2010
The Mouth of The Hudson by Robert Lowell
A single man stands like a bird-watcher,
and scuffles the pepper and salt snow
from a discarded, gray
Westinghouse Electric cable drum.
He cannot discover America by counting
the chains of condemned freight-trains
from thirty states. They jolt and jar
and junk in the siding below him.
He has trouble with his balance.
His eyes drop,
and he drifts with the wild ice
ticking seaward down the Hudson,
like the blank sides of a jig-saw puzzle.
The ice ticks seaward like a clock.
A negro toasts
wheat-seeds over the coke-fumes
of a punctured barrel.
sweeps in from New Jersey,
and smells of coffee.
Across the river,
ledges of suburban factories tan
in the sulphur-yellow sun
of the unforgivable landscape.