Monday, February 06, 2006
“ruined machine”. John Sweet (with photograph by Kimberly Tentor) (sunnyoutside press. Somerville, Massachusetts 02144) www.sunnyoutside.com $2
John Sweet’s “ruined machine” is one of the rarely accurate accounts of what can become of a creation forged in a world of conflict.
The train intended to transport people to a desired destination now carrying people to war, carrying people to their death. While this poem echoes with Holocaust overtones, to say that this is all the poem depicts would do a great injustice to the poem.
Sweet writes, “the train wakes the baby / but not the man / sleeping on the tracks / would you give him a name? / a history?”
To give the man a name would be to forget the other people not seen on the tracks. To give the man a history would neglect the present and future as well as the repetition of history. When is comes to death and warfare, history does repeat itself.
This poem would be relevant during any time in history or in the future. This broadside should be hung on the wall to remind us of our history in the hope that we may change the future in some small way.
Sean M. Teaford / Ibbetson Update