November 20th, 2004

On the train ride downtown

On my half-hour train ride to downtown today - yes, working on a Saturday - on a grey chilly day, I found I had Carly Simon's song, "Let The River Run," going through my head, and I started thinking about how the skyscrapers look downtown on days like this.  So I wrote in my notebook:

Grey day, cold, damp.
The stamp of autumn's feet
Marching toward winter.
The towers rise like splinters
In the sky, scratching out
Their own existence, shouting
With insistence, here we are!

I started to write another line, but stopped there after all.

So I looked at that poem and noticed how much it depended on internal rhymes, which I really enjoy, so I wrote this to myself:

Internal rhymes
Are infernally charming,
Disarming you with
Unconventional timing.

I was only about fifteen minutes into the train ride, and I was surprised I'd written so much without any editing to speak of.  So I wrote:

I'm on a kind of roll.
I don't know why.  I find
The workings of the muse defy
Control.

And yet I dare to write
A rhyme a day
With the risk of being trite
Always one thought away.

I started thinking about the role of thought in poetry.  Poetry without thought is empty. Poetry can even involve deep thoughts.  Lots of them.  But they are not usually expressed in the way that philosophers express thought.  So I wrote:

Poetry suggests.
Philosophy digests.

Then I felt exhausted and went back to reading Sunrise Alley by Catherine Asaro.