The Traveller

They pointed me out on the highway, and they said
‘That man has a curious way of holding his head.’

They pointed me out on the beach; they said ‘That man
Will never become as we are, try as he can.’

They pointed me out at the station, and the guard
Looked at me twice, thrice, thoughtfully & hard.

I took the same train that the others took,
To the same place. Were it not for that look
And those words, we were all of us the same.
I studied merely maps. I tried to name
The effects of motion on the travellers,
I watched the couple I could see, the curse
And blessings of that couple, their destination,
The deception practised on them at the station,
Their courage. When the train stopped and they knew
The end of their journey, I descended too.

by John Berryman

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