Poem: The Opposite of Still

The Opposite of Still

The train’s wheels click in the early morning,
soft, rhythmic, a lullaby of sorts.
Outside it is winter still. Ice on the river.
Fog in the air.

The window is scarred, dirty, half window,
half hindrance. It lets in light
as it blurs the wispy landscape.
This is the way of your journey,

hours of it. Days. A lifetime seeing
the bits and pieces the air allows,
the things magicians wish you to to see
as they practice slight of hand.

The landscape almost there. Almost obscured.
You cannot see ahead.
That is part of traveling by train.
You only see the sides, the things you pass.

You would prefer to walk, were it not so far.
To go slow. To have the landscape pass
at a rate you can manage. To have the ability
to stop, look, explore, learn

more than the blur.

But it is not meant to be. The world travels quickly.
Weather is fickle and there is far to go.
Stillness is frowned on. There is danger in it,
possibilities of change, exposure. Truth,

More maybe than you can handle.
Maybe too complex. Too detailed. Too much
for your heart to absorb.
So you take snapshots,

and in the fog they reveal more mood than fact.
Maybe that is enough. In it’s own way,
it is accurate. A set piece, the opposite
of still.

About this poem

Thinking this morning about how we come to see things. How opinions are formed in the fog of emotion, history (our own), experience, influences, change. Another of those “this is not the poem I intended” poems.

Also about a train journey in the early morning fog.

Things are never simple as we want them to be.


PS – The picture was taken from a train traveling to NYC. The river is the Hudson.

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