Passing Scenes (While Reading Bashō)

by Franz Wright

I am traveling by train

to the city,

I am traveling

in brilliant sleep

into the past.

Meanwhile composing

a letter

to my inner no one.

There were hives at the

edge of a wood.

The mind shines

in the


The most beautiful house I ever died in.

Everything’s imaginary.

When I hear the dawn gulls cry,

even in New York

I long for New York.

From Wheeling Motel, New York: Knopf, 2009, page 62. The last three lines, of course, allude to a famous Bashō haiku about Kyoto.