By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept



Part I

begins in Monterey, California


narrator is outsider in constellation

focus is on the wife, rather than the husband

references to MacBeth show her conflicted desire to be a good host and remove the wife from the constellation

emotions of jealousy, envy, desire, guilt


Part 2

constellation is still a threesome, but with wife as grieving outsider

struggle with her own self-interested desire and her compassion for another

anger at wife’s martyrdom that prevents narrator from enjoying her love

interestingly puts herself, rather than the husband as the centre of the wife’s pain

gives herself a lot of importance

“I have broken her heart like a robin’s egg” (35).


Part 3


narrator finds sense of self-worth (40), completion (41), meaning (41) which previously eluded her.

where she felt an outsider to life, love and acceptance, she now feels “fusion” (39), ‘miracle” (40), “flood of love” (39), “all time is now” (41)

“But I have become a part of the earth: I am one of its waves flooding and leaping. I am the same tune now as the trees,hummingbirds, sky, fruits, vegetables in rows. I am all or any of these” (42).

warm and comfortable as the womb” (43)

foreshadowing “love is as strong as death” (44)


Part 4

juxtaposition of “The Song of Solomon” (private, erotic, passionate, ‘l’amour et d’eau fraîche’) versus officials (legal discourse, morality, the prosaic, cynicism)


Part 5

return of the prodigal

references to Absalom (progeny of David’s dalliance with another man’s wife, murder of husband. death of Absalom)

the passion begins to slip away


Part 6

casts herself as accused in father’s criminal trial

endures criticism of beloved (no job, avoids the war)

social censure, sees herself as misunderstood

public war vs. private love

who is “you”?


Part 7


suspicion of lover


Part 8

betrayal, rejection, loss of identity (80), “without a polestar” (84), “despair” (85), will he return?

ref. to “Wolfram’s Dirge”


Part 9

spring touches nature, but eludes her

coma,” “dead eye”, “blank days” (93)

ref. to MacBeth (“tomorrow and tomorrow….)

comparison to Dido (committed suicide when lover abandoned her) (94) and Christ’s wandering and temptation in the desert (98)


Part 10


ends in Grand Central Station, New York

ref to Psalms 137 (exodus from the promised land; captivity in foreign country)

river of love from Part 3 is now “the swollen river of my undamned grief” (104)

“All my polestars have become falling stars” (107)

imagines he is in equal pain, hopes he is in pain