Question Poem by May Swenson


Rating: 3.4

Body my house
my horse my hound
what will I do
when you are fallen

Where will I sleep
How will I ride
What will I hunt

Where can I go
without my mount
all eager and quick
How will I know
in thicket ahead
is danger or treasure
when Body my good
bright dog is dead

How will it be
to lie in the sky
without roof or door
and wind for an eye

With cloud for shift
how will I hide?

Percy Dovetonsils 06 March 2007

May Swenson (1913-1989) I wonder what it would be like to love May Swenson now that she hides in the wind. Lying in the sky wearing clouds for a shift she solemnly smiles through the mist. I hear her throb in the blood of my ears. She tickles the hairs on my wrist. “You’re not alone it only seems that way. I’m with you every moment of the day.”

9 14 Reply
Laurie Carter 29 December 2006

'Question' affects me deeply because Ms. Swenson doesn't provide an answer, or a tidy solution, and it helps that her use of poetic devices is masterful. This poem is heartbreakingly sad and poignant, it makes me run to Gerard Manley Hopkins for comfortable answers, even though his 'Margaret are you grieving...' has the same theme.

6 13 Reply
Smoky Hoss 31 October 2013

What shall become of the soul, really, when the body no longer controls/contains it?

9 3 Reply
John Richter 29 April 2015

Are all you commenters on drugs? What are you saying Hannington? Fecundity defined is fruitfulness, or very fertile. How can that leave anything to desire? Or better yet, what does it have to with her dog? I don't understand. And by the way THE POEM IS ABOUT HER DOG, who she counts on to alert her to trouble. And it is not a sad poem. It is a masterful tribute to her dog. He is not dead. She is merely looking into the future and wondering about that eventual moment when he ultimately will die, and here she is merely counting the blessings that this dog lovingly provides to her. Did anybody else get that? Or should I start smoking crack?

7 4 Reply
Jean-Marie 14 July 2018

Maybe you should. This poem has nothing to do with her dog. It's about her body. The body in general. How would you feel when you're dead, when you have left your body. This is the question she raises so beautifully. She compares our body with a home (obviously) , a hound (your best companion) , or a horse (the one you ride to conquer the world) . And what would it be to float in air, being pure consciousness. Will we feel homeless, exposed or free?

1 0
Sylvia Frances Chan 03 February 2024

Beautiful poem about her body, the body in general, loveiest worded, with great sad tunes in it. Congratulations on being chosen as The Modern Poem Of The Day. Hooray for May! Top Marks for this beautiful melancholy.

0 0 Reply
Chinedu Dike 28 January 2022

A thought provoking rendition.....

0 0 Reply
Quoth Theraven 19 September 2020

I don't know which door life's home was sent.. through Heaven's door the soul surely went. QtR

0 0 Reply
gilbert 24 April 2019

Jean-Marie, excellent!

0 0 Reply
Savita Tyagi 02 February 2018

An eternal question portrayed so simply and beautifully.

0 1 Reply
Error Success