THE BLUE FLANNEL SUIT"I had let it all grow. I had supposedIt was all OK. Your lifeWas a liner I voyaged in.Costly education had fitted you out.Financiers and committees and consultantsEffaced themselves in the gleam of your finish.You trembled with the new life of those engines.That first morning,Before your first class at College, you sat thereSipping coffee. Now I know, as I did not,What eyes waited at the back of the classTo check your first professional performanceAgainst their expectations. What assessorsWaited to see you justify the costAnd redeem their gamble. What a furnaceOf eyes waited to prove your metal. I watchedThe strange dummy stiffness, the misery,Of your blue flannel suit, its straitjacket, uglyHalf-approximation to your ideaOf the properties you hoped to ease into,And your horror in it. And the tannedAlmost green undertinge of your faceShrunk to its wick, your scar lumpish, your plaitedHead pathetically tiny.You waited,Knowing yourself helpless in the tweezersOf the life that judges you, and I sawThe flayed nerve, the unhealable face-woundWhich was all you had for courage.I saw that what you gripped, as you sipped,Were terrors that killed you once already.Now I see, I saw, sitting, the lonelyGirl who was going to die.That blue suit,A mad, execution uniform,Survived your sentence. But then I sat, stilled,Unable to fathom what stilled youAs I looked at you, as I am stilledPermanently now, permanentlyBending so briefly at your open coffin.
On the course of that chariot and those horses.A boy could not hope to control them.You are my son, but mortal. No mortalCould hope to manage those reins.Not even the gods are allowed to touch them....'Our first stretch is almost vertical.Fresh as they are, first thing,It is all the horses can do to get up it.Then on to mid-heaven. TerrifyingTo look down through nothingAt earth and sea, so tiny.My heart nearly struggles out of my bodyAs the chariot sways.Then the plunge towards evening - There you need strength on the reins. Tethys,'Who waits to receive meInto her waters, is always afraidI shall topple -And come tumblingHead over heels in a tangled mass.'Remember, too,That the whole sky is revolvingWith its constellations, its planets.I have to force my course against that - Not to be swept backwards as all else is.'What will you do,Your feet braced at the chariot, the reins in your hands,When you have to counter the pullOf the whistling Poles? When the momentumOf the whole reeling cosmos hauls you off sideways?'...
A March CalfRight from the start he is dressed in his best - his blacks and his whitesLittle Fauntleroy - quiffed and glossy,A Sunday suit, a wedding natty get-up,Standing in dunged strawUnder cobwebby beams, near the mud wall,Half of him legs, Shining-eyed, requiring nothing moreBut that mother's milk come back often.Everything else is in order, just as it is.Let the summer skies hold off, for the moment.This is just as he wants it.A little at a time, of each new thing, is best.Too much and too sudden is too frightening -When I block the light, a bulk from space,To let him in to his mother for a suck,He bolts a yard or two, then freezes,Staring from every hair in all directions,Ready for the worst, shut up in his hopeful religion,A little syllogismWith a wet blue-reddish muzzle, for God's thumb.You see all his hopes bustlingAs he reaches between the worn rails towardsThe topheavy oven of his mother.He trembles to grow, stretching his curl-tip tongue -What did cattle ever find hereTo make this dear little fellowSo eager to prepare himself?He is already in the race, and quivering to win -His new purpled eyeball swivel-jerksIn the elbowing push of his plans.Hungry people are getting hungrier,Butchers developing expertise and markets,But he just wobbles his tail - and glistensWithin his dapper profileUnaware of how his whole lineage Has been tied up.He shivers for feel of the world licking his side.He is like an ember - one glowOf lighting himself upWith the fuel of himself, breathing and brightening.Soon he'll plunge out, to scatter his seething joy,To be present at the grass,To be free on the surface of such a wideness,To find himself. To stand. To moo.
There is the inner life of thought which is our world of final reality. The world of memory, emotion, feeling, imagination, intelligence and natural common sense, and which goes on all the time consciously or unconsciously like the heartbeat.There is also the thinking process by which we break into that inner life and capture answers and evidence to support the answers out of it.And that process of raid, or persuasion, or ambush, or dogged hunting, or surrender, is the kind of thinking we have to learn, and if we don’t somehow learn it, then our minds line us like the fish in the pond of a man who can’t fish.