Posts filed under ‘Robert Lowell’

The Mouth of the Hudson

Robert Lowell

Listen (to Hoon read)

A single man stands like a bird-watcher,
and scuffles the pepper and salt snow
from a discarded, gray
Westinghouse Electric cable drum.
He cannot discover America by counting
the chains of condemned freight-trains
from thirty states. They jolt and jar
and junk in the siding below him.
He has trouble with his balance.
His eyes drop,
and he drifts with the wild ice
ticking seaward down the Hudson,
like the blank sides of a jig-saw puzzle.

The ice ticks seaward like a clock.
A negro toasts
wheat-seeds over the coke-fumes
of a punctured barrel.
Chemical air
sweeps in from New Jersey,
and smells of coffee.

Across the river,
ledges of suburban factories tan
in the sulphur-yellow sun
of the unforgivable landscape.

For the Union Dead, 1964.

Hoon writes,

“It is a simple description of a landscape,
neutral until the judgmental unforgivable at the end.
A landscape that is both natural and manmade,
where both components seem indifferent to A single man,
And the river seems to inexorably sweep the man, the rail yard, the
entire landscape, out to the Atlantic.”

This would be our first Lowell poem. So here is a bio and a commentary on ‘The Mouth of the Hudson’.

And do checkout Hoon’s website Innerlea ( that aims to turn literature into entertainment. The site includes works by Keats, Frost, Stevens and Shakespeare, and other pieces on aesthetics of poetry, poetics etc.


March 29, 2007 at 11:57 pm Leave a comment