Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Church of the Commuter

On Ash Wednesday, several blogs discussed the idea of "mobile ashes", with various degrees of discomfort expressed about ashes-to-go at Dunkin Donuts, or commuter rail platforms, where they might not be taken seriously.

That made me think about the nature of travel, and how isolating it can be. When I flew home from DC when my father died, I experienced this odd sensation of being tear-streaked and alone in the middle of people, and yet, ignored. While the commuter platform isn't always grim, sometimes I see vignettes that suggest it's not particularly happy.

Anyway, these images resulted in a poem. And since this is where I blog, you get stuck reading it.

There's no one who wants to wait on a platform before dawn
It's an odd sort of brotherhood of the train we'll soon get on.
Regular commuters greet each other by their name
Their jocular bravado hides the presence of their pain.
This one waits in desperate hope for a ring on his cell phone
Any call will reassure him that he isn't all alone.
That one who looks engrossed inside a book he's never read,
Hasn't turned a page for days, he's so deep inside his head.
A woman is weeping silently, the tears stream down her face;
The others turn their eyes away and no one leaves their place.
One young couple stands entwined, as they too begin to cry
Their pain of parting real and raw in their inevitable goodbye.
Every day we stand together, shoulders hunched against the cold
A congregation united by the stories that we've told,
And in the lightweight conversation a confession's being heard
Seeking a stranger's absolution for the sins that have occurred.

Photo (c) by IT


dr.primrose said...

OT. The Ninth Circuit just issued an order denying the request to lift the stay on marriages for same-sex couples while the appeal was pending. (I'd give you a link but this comment would just go to spam.) Drat!

JCF said...

Lovely, IT.

dr. p,

You might try ending the link "dot com" (or "dot whatever" within it). Hopefully, it would trick the spam filter, but still enable someone to find the link.

IT said...

Dr P, I'm checking the spam filter daily, so link away.

JCF, thanks for the kind words.