New York Symphony


New York City fascinates me. There’s such energy there. I’m convinced that even if you took away all the sounds, the city would vibrate or hum. Both times that I’ve attended TC Summer Institutes at Columbia, I have stayed on 77th Street. One of the highlights of my visit is to walk up and back Broadway to 120th every day. I especially love the morning commute. The dog walkers are out in force, and merchants are opening their stores, unloading carts, carefully wrapping bouquets in sleeves, and stacking fruit and vegetables into rainbows of produce. The passing cars hum. Small groups of pigeons and sparrows feast on offerings of bread. Sunlight glints off the top of buildings and dew drops still cling to the blossoms in planters and parks. Although they say NYC is the city that never sleeps, to me, those early morning sights and sounds are the city waking and preparing for the upcoming performance of the day.

New York Symphony

In New York City
day dawns
the quickening air pulses
with vibrations
the deep heavy rumble of delivery trucks
the click clack of carts
crossing sidewalks with a rhythmic
ka-thunk, ka-thunk, ka-thunk
the contented coo of feasting pigeons
a burst of beating wings
as a startled flock takes flight
evading the percussive
of approaching runners
or the staccato clicks of high heels
the punctuating steamy exhale of the buses
a crescendo of trumpeting car horns
a blazing siren
and the steady swish of tires
and humming engines
threaded through with
the cheerful calls
of vendors and passersby
and the sweet strains of bird song
All tuning up
for a day in the city
a New York City symphony

Molly Hogan (c) 2017

Check out this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at Carol Varsalona’s blog, Beyond Literacy Link. She has a bounty of poetic offerings this week: her Springsations gallery unveiling, a sonnet to read aloud, a poem about fried chicken and an invitation to write about mac ‘n cheese at next week’s Roundup in honor of National Mac and Cheese Day .

21 thoughts on “New York Symphony

  1. That is fantastic. I think you really caught the sounds of the city waking up. I’m traveling to NYC next month. And, I can’t wait to get a big dose of words to play with….I need to add a list of sounds too. How fun to spend time in NYC each summer. I might have to look into a workshop there someday to get that experience. I’m jealous!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this, it brought me back, especially the “steamy exhale of the buses”. It reminded me of the whoosh from subway grates and walking over metal plates on sidewalks. The sound and color. I love NYC, too. I enjoyed going there for the SCBWI conference.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lindabaie says:

    You’ve made me want to return, Molly, and embrace those sounds again. What fun you must have had on your own journey. The poem is indeed a “symphony”!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love your courage of going to the Big Apple. We country mice (Hannah and Dan) stay away from the urban landscape. Give us Utah’s mountains, arches, and trails.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. margaretsmn says:

    I love how you incorporated so many musical terms to describe the metaphor of symphony. Wonderful observations!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Margaret! Many of the sounds were quite enjoyable, but not all of them. I’m convinced those who live in the city must suffer from hearing loss!


  6. I feel the rhythm in your lines pulling me in and down the page, one after the other, beating out NYC’s”symphony,” and pulse. I love the energy in NYC and your poem Molly, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well done, Molly! Your poem perfectly captures the hum and energy of New York’s “symphony.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. cvarsalona says:

    Molly, you caught the beat of NYC in summer. It is a city that is vibrant and each time I go in I feel the pulsating tempo just like you noted. This is well done. Would you like to NYC in an image poem for my summer gallery?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My partner has been to NYC several times for work, and he always writes home about all the amazing sights, sounds, smells and tastes in this incredible, pulsating city! Alas I have never been – perhaps one day I’ll be so lucky!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. maryleehahn says:

    Bravo! Standing ovation! Love all the sounds you wove into your symphony!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. dmayr says:

    Outstanding! To say more than that is unnecessary.

    Liked by 1 person

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