Far From The Madding… A New Yorker Looks For Peace


A New Yorker Looks For Peace

Far from the madding crowd,
far from the gladding crowd,
even far from
the perpetually plaiding crowd–
(you know the ones–the kilt
and golf-tatting crowd–)
Far from the gadding crowd,
I longed to be.

And yet when I left
the thronged street and museum,
what did I find
in that hush mausoleum?

My brain’s plaintive queries, its
worries uncowed–
My soul’s jigs and jags, its
plinked rags bow-wowed–

Better to live as a
subway sardine
where all I need fear is
a tightly-groped spleen–
So much better by far
to squeeze into a cram
of something besides my
I-think and I-am.

So let me retrieve please
my space in the crowd,
where I can live free,
no matter thoughts loud.


A very very tired Manicddaily is posting the above ditty for dVerse Poets Pub’s Meeting The Bar challenge to write about a moment of solitude. I’m not sure if “golf-tatting” is a word, but I do know that anyone golf-tatting is bound to be wearing plaid pants.  

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32 Comments on “Far From The Madding… A New Yorker Looks For Peace”

  1. brian miller Says:

    ha…easier to lose those thoughts in a crowd for sure…silence can open the door to a many a thought…i almost wore a kilt this week…was going to team up with another teather for Twin Day…its homecoming/spirit week this week…even found the kilts but he chickened out…oy….and who is groping your spleen…err…haha…smiles…nice take k

  2. hedgewitch Says:

    I always tat my golf while plaiding my kilt. I enjoyed the wry humor much, and the little hoop-jumps you put the words through to make this fun to read, and still carry a very valid little tale in your protective spleen-covering sash. Hang in there–Friday is coming.

  3. janehewey Says:

    i love hiding in the city crowds. having grown up in an every one is visible small Iowa town. this poem is heartening. I especially love “My brain’s plaintive queries…My soul’s jigs and jags” nice write going into the weekend. have a good one, k.

  4. Chazinator Says:

    I think this is not silly at all. The need to be a alone in that silence that centers us as human is always important, and should be sung from the rooftops, as they say. I like the satirical picture too. A bit of political editorial? 😉 fine be me, another free loader!

  5. seingraham Says:

    Related to this alone easily; have felt the most alone or lonely within a crowd I think actually … good take and interesting poem.


  6. claudia Says:

    i often find solitude in the middle of big crowds…they somehow seem to be a good stage for this…ha…and i just LOVE your elephant…smiles

  7. beckykilsby Says:

    ‘a tightly-groped spleen’… might never forget that one!

    I enjoyed you take on solitude.. yes, not always in the obvious places 🙂

  8. Sabio Lantz Says:

    You took time to rhyme so I gave it a couple reads.
    Well, that and it was fun.
    Did you do the drawing? That was humorous thought I don’t know if it was meant to be more than cute — did the symbolism pass me?

    I can’t tell if this poem is sarcasm toward to solitude idealizing threat (which it does well) or sarcasm toward the hussle-bustle life (which it does well too). I’ve no idea what the fabric and kilt allusions are. But it sounds like an inside joke to people that know your writing or your politics.)

    What is “golf-tatting”? (Tatting?)
    I was good: I looked up uncowed, gladding, plaintive, plaid (plaiding) and plinked (rags bow-wowing?).

    During my reading I remembered my years of commuting in spleen-gouging Japanese trains. Thanx for the vocabulary tour, the images and more. (oh yeah, and indulging questions — taboo in many poet circles)

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Hi Sabio – first, I don’t know if I responded to your own post the other day as I was a bit distracted but I thought you Mullah limerick very funny and your questions in your post about politics and parody and islam very well put, and of course, timely.

      And your questions about this poem, and the time you took – well thanks much! The poem really is a bit of fluff. I had a serious poem I was going to work on, but as I got off the subway, just decided to go with something more fun. In terms of meaning and sense – sometimes you just have to follow the rhyme, or you choose the rhymes you like at lest – which I did here – so it may be a bit contradictory –

      If it’s sarcastic about anything, it’s about the writer – the jokes on her -she pursues a quiet spot, only to find her busy mind drowning out any meditative peace.

      Golf-tatting is a completely made up world – and although I was sort of thinking of St Patrick’s day in NYC – it’s kind of suburban (so doesn’t truly fit with the urban theme). The idea there is a certain type of golfer tends to wear plaid pants. And maybe even a plaid cap, but especially the pants. Even just fashionable young men wear them these days, actually, Tatting, I think, means a kind of crochet etc. so I was thinking of it as a “glad-rag.” And the idea was to get away even from the jovial and celebratory.

      Plinked had been plink-plonked and was meant to refer to piano playing and rags to a ragtime song. When I first posted the poem I actually had “way too loud” or something like that instead of bow-wowed, but I wanted something more colorful and not repeated so I went to bow-wowed. Which has the doggy idea but also the idea of loud, and barked out. I don’t know if that works but I liked the sound of it. (Rags also kind of fits with the clothes thing.)

      Anyway, I hope that answers you and I appreciate your asking. Those Japanese subways look truly spleen groping! But at least the conductors can grope with gloves, I guess. (Ha.) k.

      • Sabio Lantz Says:

        Hey ManicD!,
        Ah, so if I understand you correctly — you wanted to play with rhyme and so you sacrificed meaning in the beginning, but took it up later when (as you gratefully explained) you showed the joke on the author as she found cacophony in her mausoleum of solitude. I get that now. Thank you.

        And “St Patrick’s day in NY” is not something I had to draw on when swimming among your images — that hint helped too. Very fun.

        Ah, “plinked” == since your were talking fabrics, “rag” meant “dirty, old rag” to me — not music. I didn’t get the double image. That helped too.

        I liked the sound of “bow-wowed” too. Fun.

        Yes, great answers — thanx. I know Japanese conductors are suppose to keep those white gloves on, just like poetry readers should just accept — but I like working with gloves off! Thanx for playing !!

        Glad you like the Mullah limerick — maybe I will put it up on my Poetry blog too.

      • ManicDdaily Says:

        Well I hate to say I “sacrificed” meaning! I think there is meaning in there loosely! More or less! k.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Oh – ps – the elephant is mine. No symbolism – I modified older drawing, and put a photo that I took (that I used a filter to change and repeat) which had some faces in it behind it. Oddly, the photo was from Occupy Wall Street, but I chose not to clarify sign because I was not going for symbolism.

  9. PoetJanstie Says:

    Sort of rant, this, but a great poem too, in spite of fact you declare it’s a bit of last minute fun! The reference to Thomas Hardy’s novel is sweet, because it was one of the books I read for English Literature at school, but I didn’t get the impression of being far from the noise and confusion of human relationships in the process! “Far from The Madding Crowd” is a phrase that’s fallen into common usage over the years, especially in my life.

    I dare you to stand and deliver this as an urban – perhaps I should more correctly call it ‘urbane’ – rap on the subway platform, next time you’re there! 😉

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha! My experience is that people would not pay very much attention unless you were blocking the train door! I was actually on a train with a fight last night, which is pretty unusual–luckily it stayed verbal. Thanks for your comment. You are right that the Hardy title is so beautiful that it is way overused. k.

  10. Mary Says:

    Well, as I thought about a New Yorker looking for peace, I thought about those who ride the subways on a daily basis have to find that peace and solitude within oneself somehow, as one is never far from the ‘madding crowd.’ Your poem with its bit of humor definitely made that point for me. I enjoyed.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks, Mary. I actually rather like my morning subway, which is fairly quiet. Evening rather awful. Of course, one wants to get home, but the service gets pretty frayed by then. k.

  11. We tend to carry our noise with us, no matter how we attempt to quiet it all within. I’m not sure I’d join in ribbing the author 🙂 as I think this is very human and part of the creative process as evidenced by your creation. On the other hand it can be such a relief to not take the process so seriously.

  12. Ahhh NYC, where everything is “hustle and bustle” and peace is pulled from the “inside” of one’s being. I love NY, and admire those who can find “solitude” in the middle of the noise and chaos. Lovely capture!!

  13. kkkkaty1 Says:

    Yes! One CAN find solitude in crowded places…..for some it is more profound than others…excellent..

  14. ‘…Better to live as a
    subway sardine’ ~ this is marvellous

  15. Kim Nelson Says:

    How deftly you’ve shown us how loud, distracting and disquieting the inner voice can be. Odd, isn’t it, that peace can be found in the fracas?

  16. Agree with an earlier poster..better to live as a subway sardine is easier….so true…loved your poem….a serious bit of philosophy is presented wrapped in humour and rhyme…just brilliant…

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