Search This Blog

01 December 2016

How will I know / in thicket ahead / is danger or treasure / when Body my good / bright dog is dead


May Swenson



I got into a polite, respectful e-xchange with a fellow from NYU-Bellevue Med School who's in its program of introducing doctors to dimensions and conditions of human life which are normally or exclusively found not in medicine, but in literature. To my knowledge, this very interesting curriculum is unique in the world of medical education.

Today, instead of structure and function of the spleen, we will discuss "Dubliners," a collection of short stories by James Joyce.

You there in the fifth row -- did you ask "Why? I'm trying to learn to fix spleens."

For an answer, find the NYU-Bellevue office that does this thing, ask them. But I think it traces to the rare belief that, to treat, comprehend and encompass the total human condition, a physician must probe and comprehend the human soul, human passions, things which humans race toward, things they flee from.

But we e-xchanged about This Poem by May Swenson. He'd posted that the poem was about Fear of Death. I objected strenously, and said it's about her perception and fear of failing health and strength, usually from inevitable Growing Old. 

(To be fair to NYU-B guy, my stuff usually or always precedes his stuff. I can stand on a chair and see his stuff from here, if it's a clear day.)

Please Leave A Comment, something youse bums have been lax in doing lately. Vleeptron tallies these numbers and carefuly analyzes all Comments. Vleeptron knows if you're just trying to sell me Viagra.

But one thing NYU-B Guy and I are in perfect agreement about is the power, the greatness of this poem.

(But you don't have to agree. If you think it sucks, Leave A Comment. No Anonymous Driveby Comments Allowed. Show some i.d.)

* * * * * *

Question

by May Swenson (1913 - 1989)

Body my house
my horse my hound
what will I do
when you are fallen

Where will I sleep
How will I ride
What will I hunt

Where can I go
without my mount
all eager and quick
How will I know
in thicket ahead
is danger or treasure
when Body my good
bright dog is dead

How will it be
to lie in the sky
without roof or door
and wind for an eye

With cloud for shift
how will I hide?

from Nature: Poems Old and New
Copyright © 1994 by May Swenson, All rights reserved.

No comments: