The Middle Voice

The Middle Voice

The Middle Voice

The Middle Voice


Between this and that other country
is neither barricade nor sentry.

Plausible under elm and maple
past the train window move the people,

no foreign air in face or clothing,
nothing to warn me, nothing, nothing--

no signboard's word to tell me whether
this is one country or the other.

Yet once arrived, without confusion
I move expertly thro the station:

no stranger whom the traffic vexes,
I can evade the trucks and taxis:

sure-footed sleepwalker, I saunter
across the park, see without wonder

the War Memorial, the benches,
familiar sun, familiar branches.

I wait the proper bus, and, waiting,
hear my name called in sudden greeting--

and find my own responses come
apt in the local idiom.

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