Riding with Plato on a Northbound Train

Everything Plato ever started should
Because of his chains remain in the purely
Philosophical realms of variations on an argument,
Shouldn’t it, said one of the grackles high up
On the wire where so many grackles stopped to
Recharge or listen in to human exchanges for
Amusement purposes only. Over a thousand houses
with their windowshades closed look too sad,
Oildrums flaming and smoking in sideyards, no
One out and about, not a child to be seen on
A swing or a mule or a swan. Where had all the
People gone? My brain was working under time
With its photochemical bath delivering miracles
Physically palpable. I sat back and admired
The feel of 10,000 cars in the parking lot trans-
Form itself into a sort of well-kept junkyard
And stay that way, oh, I see how it is in that
Town there are statues of owls on all of their
Roofpeaks, so doves move on over to another town
Where they won’t be scared, sensible doves.
There have been so many awnings, steps up, porches
Set for ceremonies of the sun, clotheslines
With nothing on them, walkways blank, paths worn
On riverbanks, where no one is walking, not
A boat moving either way on the water. Another
Flock of birds looks as if it’s composing music
And guarding the secret of how to play it.
It’s strange how a frame introduces the presence
Of a third party into the occasion. First we
Chain them down to stop them from turning around,
Then we talk about how little they discern of the
Little we let them see, then we talk in front of
Them as though they can’t hear, and if they com-
Plain that’s neither here nor there, they have
No names, and if we free them from their caves
Which one of us will claim possession of the sun?

Dara Wier
from her book Remnants of Hannah
Wave Books, 2006

Used with permission of the poet.

This poem was catalogued in Poems and written by Dara Wier. Bookmark the permalink.

About Dara Wier

Ms. Wier poetry has been supported by fellowships and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the American Poetry Review. She directs the MFA program for poets and writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

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