Monday, March 10, 2014

Schenectady, New York, circa 1950 and YOU ARE THERE.

Because tonight's poem is called The Station, I searched through the last batch of my mother's slides for something about transportation. Here's a classic bus! But what is that building and why did she take a picture of it?? Then I had a faint memory trace: the Schenectady Library! We visited when we came to town for music lessons from Mrs. Newkirk. Here is a link to her! It was on such a bus that eight-year-old-me had such a bad experience when the bus driver said I was using an old transfer and  I still hate bus travel! Here is a link to the old library on the website. I think I got it! You decide. 
This was a Carnegie Library and had the names of great writers inscribed all around below the roof. I can almost see them in this picture, but not quite.

The Station

A train has just rolled in. Coach after coach stand here,
but no doors open, no one gets off or on.
Are there no doors at all? Inside, a crowd
of shut-in figures stirring to and fro.
Gazing out through immovable window-panes.
Outside, a man with a hammer.
He strikes the wheels, a feeble clang. Except for here!
Here the chime swells unbelievably; a lightning stroke,
peal of cathedral bells, a sailing-round-the-world peal
that lifts the whole train and the landscape's wet stones.
Everything is singing. This you will remember. Travel on!

Tomas Transtromer; from New Collected Poems; 
translated by Robin Fulton, Bloodaxe Books, 1997, page 136

For some reason this makes me very happy. Everything is singing!

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