Treasure Island

Randall Jarrell

(May 6, 1914 – October 14, 1965 / Nashville)

90 North


At home, in my flannel gown, like a bear to its floe,
I clambered to bed; up the globe's impossible sides
I sailed all night—till at last, with my black beard,
My furs and my dogs, I stood at the northern pole.

There in the childish night my companions lay frozen,
The stiff fur knocked at my starveling throat,
And I gave my great sigh: the flakes came huddling,
Were they really my end? In the darkness I turned to my rest.

—Here, the flag snaps in the glare and silence
Of the unbroken ice. I stand here,
The dogs bark, my beard is black, and I stare
At the North Pole . . .
And now what? Why, go back.

Turn as I please, my step is to the south.
The world—my world spins on this final point
Of cold and wretchedness: all lines, all winds
End in this whirlpool I at last discover.

And it is meaningless. In the child's bed
After the night's voyage, in that warm world
Where people work and suffer for the end
That crowns the pain—in that Cloud-Cuckoo-Land

I reached my North and it had meaning.
Here at the actual pole of my existence,
Where all that I have done is meaningless,
Where I die or live by accident alone—

Where, living or dying, I am still alone;
Here where North, the night, the berg of death
Crowd me out of the ignorant darkness,
I see at last that all the knowledge

I wrung from the darkness—that the darkness flung me—
Is worthless as ignorance: nothing comes from nothing,
The darkness from the darkness. Pain comes from the darkness
And we call it wisdom. It is pain.


Anonymous submission.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read poems about / on: pain, alone, silence, night, world, work, child, people, home, death, dog, children, wind

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (90 North by Randall Jarrell )

Enter the verification code :

  • Keith Gaboury (6/10/2005 3:38:00 PM)

    Wow, that's a really depressing poem but I'm still somehow pulled towards it. I really like the line 'Where people work and suffer for the end.' (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Tales Of A Wife: Close To You, Onyekachukwu Vincent Onyeche
  2. CREDITOR, Donald R Charon
  3. Tales Of A Wife: Lady Liberty, Onyekachukwu Vincent Onyeche
  4. Lament Of Many, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
  5. Misguided, Donald R Charon
  6. NATURE'S INFLUENCE, Donald R Charon
  7. How Was Your Day?, Donald R Charon
  8. we never did go bowling, Mandolyn ...
  9. How To Tie The Knot, Foster Teegarden
  10. hurry husband, shush my alliteration, Mandolyn ...

Poem of the Day

poet Rupert Brooke

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
...... Read complete »

   

Trending Poems

  1. 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
  2. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  5. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  6. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  7. 1914 V: The Soldier, Rupert Brooke
  8. If, Rudyard Kipling
  9. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  10. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep, Mary Elizabeth Frye

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]