Railroad Train, 1908

We continue our celebration of National Poetry Month, and Graywolf Press, with verse by the Catalan poet Ernest Farrés, translated by Lawrence Venuti, drawn from the volume Edward Hopper.

 

 

Railroad Train, 1908

 

No sooner is the caboose

out of sight than they've

already forgotten you.

It's like losing clout or taking

a load off their minds. That's just

how they, who are out

to lunch or do nothing

with their lives, wash their hands

of you. Got it? Yet the trains you catch

are determined, air-conditioned, carnivorous,

in fine fettle. Thickening fogs

rise yet fail to intimidate them.

They breathe in, breathe out, iridesce, seethe.

They need a ton of room

to levitate in a hurry, heading

for the possibility of other worlds

or an extraordinary order of things.

Their windows give evidence of valleys,

depressions.

                  Leaving on days beneath a leaden sky

is true to type, as if clouds were formed through contact

with sweat and hot breath.

                           Hours later

you'll be swaddled in strange lights and shadows,

gusts and twittering colors, unaccustomed racket.

 

 

Ernest Farrés, "Railroad Train, 1908" from Edward Hopper. English translation copyright © 2009 by Lawrence Venuti. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota. www.graywolfpress.org

April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

advertisement
Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.