Sidewalk Poetry #47: Coming Into New York

After Providence, Connecticut --
the green defiant landscape, unrelieved
except by ordered cities, smart and smug,
in spirit villages, too full of life
to be so called, to small to seem sincere.
And then like Death it comes upon us:
the plain of steaming trash, the tinge of brown
that colors now the trees and grass as thought
exposed to rays sent from the core of heat --
these are the signs we see in retrospect.
But we look up amazed and wonder that the green is gone out of our window, that
horizon on all sides is segmented
into so many tiny lines that we mistake it for the profile of a wooded
hill against the sky, or that as far
as mind can go are buildings, paving, streets.
The tall ones rise into the mist like gods
serene and watchful, yet we fear, for we
have witnessed from this train the struggle to
complexity: the leaf has turned to stone.

[Subway in the Bronx, 70s or 80s.]

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