Getting There

by Sylvia Plath

How far is it? How far is it now? The gigantic gorilla interior Of the wheels move, they appall me --- The terrible brains Of Krupp, black muzzles Revolving, the sound Punching out Absence! Like cannon. It is Russia I have to get across, it is some was or other. I am dragging my body Quietly through the straw of the boxcars. Now is the time for bribery. What do wheels eat, these wheels Fixed to their arcs like gods, The silver leash of the will ---- Inexorable. And their pride! All the gods know destinations. I am a letter in this slot! I fly to a name, two eyes. Will there be fire, will there be bread? Here there is such mud. It is a trainstop, the nurses Undergoing the faucet water, its veils, veils in a nunnery, Touching their wounded, The men the blood still pumps forward, Legs, arms piled outside The tent of unending cries ---- A hospital of dolls. And the men, what is left of the men Pumped ahead by these pistons, this blood Into the next mile, The next hour ---- Dynasty of broken arrows! How far is it? There is mud on my feet, Thick, red and slipping. It is Adam's side, This earth I rise from, and I in agony. I cannot undo myself, and the train is steaming. Steaming and breathing, its teeth Ready to roll, like a devil's. There is a minute at the end of it A minute, a dewdrop. How far is it? It is so small The place I am getting to, why are there these obstacles ---- The body of this woman, Charred skirts and deathmask Mourned by religious figures, by garlanded children. And now detonations ---- Thunder and guns. The fire's between us. Is there no place Turning and turning in the middle air, Untouchable and untouchable. The train is dragging itself, it is screaming ---- An animal Insane for the destination, The bloodspot, The face at the end of the flare. I shall bury the wounded like pupas, I shall count and bury the dead. Let their souls writhe in like dew, Incense in my track. The carriages rock, they are cradles. And I, stepping from this skin Of old bandages, boredoms, old faces Step up to you from the black car of Lethe, Pure as a baby.