There is a Stillness in the City

Greyness dulls the sounds
which would normally define
my Sunday morning.

I lean out my window,
drink a coffee,
smoke a cigarette,
contribute to the gloom.

A young woman with a pony-tail
appears, disappears,
jogging through the mist.
I wonder what benefit
she hopes to gain from breathing in polluted air.

I answer my phone; did not mean to – just did. Why on earth do bloody salesmen cold-call me on a Sunday morning – I am not remotely interested in anything they have to say – resist the temptation to tell him to fuck off – replace the phone firmly and remind myself that I have an answering service – if I don’t pick up, my own voice will invite you to leave a message .Friends will leave a message, salesmen never do. I have a friend who, on certain occasions, would rather talk to my answering machine than directly to me – she knows she can talk to it without fear of interruption, censure or rebuke – this is not a call for help on her part, rather just the opportunity to rant out loud.

She calls to see me today,
needing more than
an answering machine
or a telephone call can provide.

We sit together,
side by side,
take comfort
in the peace,
the stillness
of Sunday morning
in the city.


36 Responses to “There is a Stillness in the City”

  1. Wonderful!!! The best yet for me, of this City series!

    I lo ve your answering machine message – always have done. I remember phoning you years ago just to listen to it! Mad? – yes!
    Nobody else could have such an answering machine message!!

    I look forward to seeing you in about an hour from now!!! Yippee!




    • 🙂 Thank you Christine,

      I keep thinking of changing that message, but it does seem to be enjoyed so I will leave it alone.

      I have a mind to do a booklet of the ‘City’ series poems – perhaps next Christmas 🙂

      I really enjoyed our morning out – Thank you

      xxxloveandbighugxxx to you too


  2. Hi David,

    it is a sad world that need answering machines I think, but
    I like the poem though, and I hope one day you won’t need the machine anymore, as I hate them! If you want me to call you when we arrive in Whitby, please answer it lol. I don’t like to leave messages but I also don’t want to miss meeting you 🙂

    Funny, we both have phonecalls in our poem today 🙂

    Much love 🙂

  3. Christine lanham Says:

    This is so wonderful David …very evocative of time and place , Im glad you enjoyed the peace….I loved reading the last lines.

  4. Love the change of pace here…

  5. I think that salesman have a sadistic streak, they always call at the worst times!! Anyway,I also like taking to machines, because they aren’t easy to piss-off.. LOL Enjoy hearing how your life is going!!! Well done!! Hugs!

  6. Well, I know of a boy working for a call center that got treated rather rude, he was trying to make money while studying and he is in a chair, so I suppose we beter be civil to those dreaded ‘salesmen’ lol. They just try to make money 🙂 and all you have to do, is say ‘No, sorry.”

    But I nearly missed what this poem is really about! 🙂 Good luck both of you. xx

  7. I like how the shift in moods is very much well-defined. First it was meh, then hmmm, then grrrr then it was a soft *sigh* in the end.

    – L

  8. This is a clever piece, David, with that (seemingly) uncontrollable interruption in the middle, breaking across the lines – but then neatly integrated with the next stanza. Clever.
    I like the peacefulness of those references to Sunday mornings, too, coming both at the start and the close. Very nice composition.

    • Thank you John,

      I had a lot of fun writing this – trying to get the right combination of content and structure to reflect the changing moods and yet make a coherent whole 🙂


  9. They call me as soon as I walk in from church. How do you suppose they know the hour I will return,,:)

  10. Many shades of you came across in your write David. Your honest words remind me of the many mansions that reside withun us (:

  11. I like the structure of this, David. I’m with John Stevens. The break into prose in the middle of verse is as startling as the phone call you answer when the cold calling salesman shivers into a peaceful Sunday. The hell with him! Then the peace and the companionship in the end, making the city come alive with two of its citizens. Your lack of telephone for awhile seems have stirred alive telephones in your poetry, though. Even answering machines!

  12. +1 on John’s comment: I really like the way you break into prose midway, then pick up the poem where you left off having interrupted yourself! To me, that’s the mark of a confident writer in complete control of his material – bravo!

    • Thank you so much Nick.

      I am really delighted when I get comments such as these from writers as good as yourself and John.

      We had a discussion group at the Leeds Writers Circle recently on the topic of prose poetry – one of those discussions where you are no nearer a definition at the end than you were at the beginning!!! But we had some real enjoyment in between. 🙂


  13. so descriptive — the essence of existence where man can make peace for himself no matter the setting ….and so help the establishment of peace for others. i too would wonder on the sense of jogging to breathe more deeply of pollution; it speaks of habit and human proclivity to fail in noting needs for change in behavior, the stubborn insistence that all is the same and as it should-be. unfortunately you have to see the problem to fix the problem ….

    (sorry am late, have been SO ill these last few weeks. just when think am done with the food poisoning, i go another round)

    • Thank you Eileen for this lovely comment.

      I am smiling at your observation on the attitude of the jogger – the same thought did occur to me as I watched her 🙂

      I do hope you are feeling better now


  14. I love the atmosphere you create with this one David…a wonderful piece!

  15. I can relate to those friggin’ sales calls on Sunday morn. This is lovely.

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