Winter 1943 • Vol. V No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1943 |

Pictures from a World

Orestes at Tauris Sailing to Tauris: the pitchy cave, The corpse bobbing, bleached, limp as oil, Days, hung at the wind's aging breast, (The sail had no shade, the place of the sun No shape to tell me where he rode) You fell like a dream; or, looking down, Smiling, the laurel darkening your face, You saw them watching, their pale mouths opened, Like shadows under the gliding sea. …  One night you began to rot in your dream And held your sister, wet in your arms, Who wept with lips that fell apart in fat. You woke with a sob, rippling with sweat, And ran to the helmsman, and turned his face— He spoke in the gods' tongue, forsaking you, His nostrils distended, drugged with the scent Of the dried blood scaling from his lips — That hair, prettier than a horse's mane! And you cried "Lord!"—flung out your arms, And looked into eyes so fierce and luminous You woke with a hollow and tumbling cry. A bird came by your head, her wings thudding, The mast shook,

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Randall Jarrell was a poet, critic, and literary essayist. From 1937 to 1939 he taught at Kenyon College, where he met John Crowe Ransom and Robert Lowell.

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By Randall Jarrell

Orestes at Tauris Sailing to Tauris: the pitchy cave, The corpse bobbing, bleached, limp as oil, Days, hung at the wind's aging breast, (The sail had no shade, the place […]

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