Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Michael Blumenthal: "A Man Lost by a River"

There is a voice inside the body.
There is a voice and a music,
a throbbing, four-chambered pear
that wants to be heard, that sits
alone by the river with its mandolin
and its torn coat, and sings
for whomever will listen
a song that no one wants to hear.

But sometimes, lost,
on his way to somewhere significant,
a man in a long coat, carrying
a briefcase, wanders into the forest.

He hears the voice and the mandolin,
he sees the thrush and the dandelion,
and he feels the mist rise over the river.

And his life is never the same,
for this having been lost—
for having strayed from the path of his routine,
for no good reason.

"A Man Lost by a River" by Michael Blumenthal. Text as published in Against Romance (Viking-Penguin, 1987; republished Pleasure Boat Studios, 2005). © Michael Blumenthal. Reprinted by permission of the poet.

Art credit: "Man with Briefcase in Fog," photograph by Lee Avison.


  1. A man lost by a river , line 6 is "for" whomever , not "from" whomever.

    1. Thank you for catching that, John. Correction made.


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