May. 16th, 2012

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The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.


The power was off this morning in my apartment (I'm thinking blown fuse, which only my super can change - will call in an hour or two). The lack of white noise from my fan woke me up, and as I didn't have a functioning alarm clock, I chose to go ahead and get up. And then because I needed a Latin reference and no power means no internet, I decided to come on over to campus.

Anyway, the upshot was that I was out for the day by around 5 AM. This is a first for me, the being out at that hour (I've certainly been working at 5 AM, from both ends of the day), and I'm privileged enough and enough of a romantic that I found the city really beautiful at that hour. "City" here is the Bronx, so it's hardly what you think of when it comes to NYC, but there was a surreal quality to it all. Some people were already out on their way to work, but for the It was also raining and all foggy, and the people who were already out were on their way to work. Nurses, and waitresses, and cleaning ladies mostly judging by the uniforms. There's a beauty to that exhaustion, at least from the outside.

Hence the poem above. It's by Carl Sandburg and has long been one of my favorites. I was reminded of it this morning because it captured the mood better than anything I've been able to manage.

I also can't quite help imagining Denethor on a morning like this. He'd slip a worn cloak low over his face and sneak down into the Third Circle market, watching as the various people set up shop for the day (the boy driving the cart full of water cisterns taller than him; the girl with a basket of flowers slung over her arm; the old matron who sells strong tea by the mugful for a copper groat to people trying to get their day started, and who'd be gone by midday; and, perhaps, a reveller from the night before passed out behind a garbage heap) - I'm sure he'd like letting his cares away for an hour or two on a morning like this when the fog hung thick around. My muse even came up with an old line his mother once told him: that great cities, like armies and trysting lovers, never truly slept.

I'd like to think I'd turn that into a proper vignette, but I don't know how long the mood will last and I'm really too sleep-deprived to attempt it just now. I hope the mental image is a good start to the day for some of you, at least.

(Originally posted at LJ; please post there.)

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