Reflections on a view from a New York tenement window, seen on social media
New York Stanza
The night is dark and wet, street lights
Have no purchase on the empty street beneath;
Only the soft glow from the tenement windows
Gives form and perspective to my view.
From a half open window across the street,
A soprano voice pierces the misty gloom:
Callas and Casta Diva, the imploring
Words quickly absorbed in the damp air.
There is a sudden roar and squeal of tyres
As a sedan erupts from the kerbside, and
Speeds around the nearest corner. Then,
All falls silent, a muffled absence of sound
Save my own breathing, as though the
Earth pauses and waits.
The moist night air perceptibly thickens,
And the view from my window becomes
A landscape in oils; each window framed
In a soft halo of yellow light. My thoughts
Wander along familiar paths, worn deep
Over many moments of introspection.
Always they return to you, footsteps in time,
Down the long tunnel of our knowing. And
Thought leads on to thought, the familiar
Doubts the deepest ruts in a meandering
Course through life.
The air is warm, pastel sunset shades and
The trees in bold silhouette; the wide street
Echoes to the rumble of the trams, and the few
Walkers swing past in smiles. There is a burst of
French then quiet, and I am lost in my thoughts.
The evening spent at the kitchen bar made
Paella twice as interesting, seeing it made and
The technique, so different to risotto, enlightening.
But as I walk up the street, the visceral urge to
Care for someone, to love and be loved in return,
Fills me and again I think of you. Now my thoughts
Turn to escape, to an ending of the longing, to
The end of hope. Yet…
The supplication to a Goddess bears fruit, but
In mysterious ways, and you hide messages
Of hope, in pleas for help, that I doubt –
But hope are true. Time passes and the
Rhythms of conversation endure, inexplicably.
My doubts intrude: is this just a call for help?
My professional advice, a non-fiducial consult,
That I willingly give?
And yet, and yet: idle gossip, teasing jibes, the
Essence of friendship, or of intimacy, come;
Random messages that you think of me.
Yet still I doubt, and want more – than you can give?
Copyright © Edward Clapham | Year Posted 2020
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