Thursday, October 07, 2004

Questionable "Poetry in Motion"

The MTA uses some ad space in subway cars for a program called "Poetry in Motion," where commuters can read a stanza of poetry in between ads for Dr. Zizmor's skin treatments and schools teaching English as a foreign language. I'd never given much thought to the poems the MTA chose to put up there, until I noticed that the latest selection was the first stanza of William Butler Yeats "The Second Coming." The subway sign reads:
TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Maybe it's just me, but that seems a little grim for a subway ride. I'm not one who likes to read a 9/11 subtext into everything, but there are some things here that remind me of that day, and of the religious fanatics who continue to plot against Americans. I get the point, MTA: you're trying to give us something more enriching than ads while we're trapped in your steel tubes. But I just want to get to work. I don't want to be scared on my way there. Next month, can you try to find something more uplifting?

No comments: