Robert Lowell

Eating Out Alone

The loneliness inside me is a place,
Harvard where no one might always be someone.
When we're alone people we run from change
to the mysterious and beautiful--
I am eating alone at a small white table,
visible, ignored...the moment that tries the soul,
an explorer going blind in polar whiteness.
Yet everyone who is seated is a lay,
or Paul Claudel, at the next table declaiming:
"L'Académie Groton, eh, c'est une école des cochons."
He soars from murdered English to killing French,
no word unheard, no sentence understood--
a vocabulary to mortify Racine...
the minotaur steaming in a maze of eloquence