Thursday, July 9, 2009
Riding the Staten Island Ferry (1)
This will surely be the first of many blogs about the Staten Island Ferry as I ride it just about every weekday. It was early when I got on the ferry today, about 7:30 a.m. The weather was perfect, low sixties, light breeze, plenty of sun. I have now taken the ferry about 200 times, but I always get a slight thrill as I board. Most of the time the ride is the same, smooth, quiet, with the pleasant fragrance of the sea in the air. And since I travel the opposite way of all the traffic there is always plenty of room. I rarely sit anywhere near anyone else. I take my place in the middle section of the middle level, put my bag on the seat beside me and then remove my reading material for the day. I have been finishing the New York Times early, so I pull out a magazine like the New Yorker to catch up on or I study a poem I've been meaning to learn. Most of my time of late has been consumed memorizing poems. So far I have learned eight by heart, but my pace has greatly slowed. For a while I was learning one every few days. For those who wonder about such things. The poems are: The Second Coming, To Autumn, Ozymandias, Those Winter Sundays, Frederick Douglass, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Lake Isle at Innisfree, and Musee des Beaux Arts. The ferry is a great place to learn poems. You can stay seated and practice speaking them aloud without anyone even noticing. Or if you need to, as I sometimes do, you can get up and circle the deck while reciting the words of some of the greatest wordsmiths of all time. Not a bad way to be.