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Friday, November 06, 2015

Poetry Friday--"Subway"

Here's a simple poem with a powerful message I think. It's by poet David Ignatow, and is found in Wherever Home Begins: 100 Contemporary Poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko [YA 811.54 WHE]:

I thought that if he could stoop
to pick out rubbish, each piece
placed in his bag--a tedious job
in front of crowds, all day
the trains at a steady roar,
the lighting dim, the air stagnant--
from bin to bin, searching
to the bottom for gum wrappers,
crumpled newspapers, torn sandwich
bags, cigarette stubs, particles
clinging to his fingers. All this
without a word, bending
at the foot of a steel pillar,
it was not too much for me
to be witness.

No words needed.

The Poetry Friday Round-Up is taking place at Write. Sketch. Repeat.

Photo courtesy Library of Congress.


  1. Thanks for sharing this powerful poem, Diane. Those last lines are thought-provoking—the poem allows the reader to be witness, too. I will search for this book.

    1. Hi Sheri! The book was published 20 years ago, but can probably be purchased second-hand.

  2. Nope. No words needed. (I have never ever been disappointed with a Janeczko anthology.)

    1. His original poems are quite fine, too!

  3. Tucking this one into my e-folder. Thanks, Diane.

    1. I'd like to peek into that folder!

  4. Thank you for sharing that "Subway" poem. Sub-title famous quote paraphrase: He also says respect who only stands, silently, and watches. Powerful. Image is haunting. Invites introspection/looking deep within. Hard to stare into...Facing truth of our prejudices is tough, too! ...God bless you.