Last week's theme spills over into a 4th poem...
(Poem #119) A Poem on the Underground Wall
The last train is nearly due, The underground is closing soon, And in the dark deserted station, Restless in anticipation, A man waits in the shadows. His restless eyes leap and snatch, At all that they can touch or catch, And hidden deep within his pocket, Safe within its silent socket, He holds a coloured crayon. Now from the tunnel's stony womb, The carriage rides to meet the groom, And opens wide the welcome doors, But he hesitates, then withdraws Deeper in the shadows. And the train is gone suddenly. On wheels clicking silently Like a gently tapping litany, And he holds his crayon rosary Tighter in his hand. Now from his pocket quick he flashes, The crayon on the wall he slashes, Deep upon the advertising, A single-worded poem comprising Four letters. And his heart is laughing, screaming, pounding, The poem across the tracks resounding, Shadowed by the exit light His legs take their ascending flight To seek the breast of darkness and be suckled by the night.
I can't believe I left Paul Simon out of last week's theme poets... Brilliant though he is as a tunesmith and musician , I can't help feeling that Paul Simon's true claim to fame lies in his songwriting skills. No other popular musician  has managed to consistently combine such exquisite melodies with such intelligent, subtle lyrics; while his musical contemporaries were cranking up their amps in the early days of arena rock, Simon was exploring the sonic textures of minimalism and freeform jazz, combining them with the folk influences of his S&G days to create his own elegant sound; when electronica threatened to take over the world in the late 80s, Simon carried the torch of the new 'world music', layering African rhythms and harmonies into his own catchy refrains; now that both jazz-pop and ethnic music is commonplace, Simon has begun exploring the blues and gospel roots of American tradition...  two distinctions neither Dylan nor Cohen can lay claim to  except, of course, that genius from Liverpool, PaulJohnMcCartneyLennon Through it all runs the strength and poetry of his lyrics. Simon's words were never as overtly activist as Dylan's (though he knew how to hit home; check out the lyrics to 'America', or the concept behind '7 O'Clock News/Silent Night') (and his devastating parody of his own genre, folk-rock - 'A Simple Desultory Phillipic, or how I was Robert MacNamara'd into submission'); his confessions were never as gutwrenchingly personal as Cohen's (though again, check out the poignancy of 'Wednesday Morning 3 AM'), but they were always insightful, always touching. Again, he often indulged in bouts of whimsy, ('Feelin Groovy', or 'Punky's Dilemma') which made critics take him less seriously than they ought to have. Simon has been described as 'the poet of Central Park', and indeed, he finds beauty in the faceless urban landscapes which so many modern poets cannot stomach. Another defining characteristic of his work is a warmth and depth of feeling for his fellow man; Simon is less self-centred, more open than either Dylan or Cohen. Both these qualities are evident in today's poem; a simple (and oft-reviled) act is exalted, made almost heroic, while the perpetrator's feelings are brilliantly exposed... at the end of the song, we are left, not just with a description of a graffiti artist, but with an _understanding_ of his actions. And that's what lifts this song (and all of Simon's work) above the level of pure entertainment and into the realm of poetry. Needless to say, the accompanying music is perfect, while Art Garfunkel's soaring schoolboy tenor adds a touch of magic to it all. thomas.