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.
Randall Jarrell's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (90 North by Randall Jarrell )
- THE SHRIEK, Satish Verma
- The Terror, David Lewis Paget
- Union - within us, gajanan mishra
- Haiku(GOD), Aftab Alam
- chaos of Christmas near, lee fones
- The earth is moving, gajanan mishra
- ONLY YOU JESUS ONLY YOU, Michael P. Johnson
- GOD! WATCHING, TESTING, Michael P. Johnson
- GOD'S TRUTH STANDING, Michael P. Johnson
- play on words, lee fones
Poem of the Day
- 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- Talking Turkeys!, Benjamin Zephaniah
- Racism Haiku - Ice Cream, john tiong chunghoo
- Blah Blah Blank Blank, vincent armone
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
- Heather Burns
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
William Butler Yeats
(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)