A Journey, By Edward Field

Photo credit: Daily Men by Javier Sánchez Salcedo

Photo credit: Daily Men by Javier Sánchez Salcedo

When he got up that morning everything was different:

He enjoyed the bright spring day

But he did not realize it exactly, he just enjoyed it.

And walking down the street to the railroad station

Past magnolia trees with dying flowers like old socks

It was a long time since he had breathed so simply.

Tears filled his eyes and it felt good

But he held them back

Because men didn’t walk around crying in that town.

Waiting on the platform at the station

The fear came over him of something terrible about to happen:

The train was late and he recited the alphabet to keep hold.

And in its time it came screeching in

And as it went on making its usual stops,

People coming and going, telephone poles passing,

He hid his head behind a newspaper

No longer able to hold back the sobs, and willed his eyes

To follow the rational weavings of the seat fabric.

He didn’t do anything violent as he had imagined.

He cried for a long time, but when he finally quieted down

A place in him that had been closed like a fist was open,

And at the end of the ride he stood up and got off that train:

And through the streets and in all the places he lived in later on

He walked, himself at last, a man among men,

With such radiance that everyone looked up and wondered.

From “A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry,” edited by Czeslaw Milosz

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