Subway photo by Robert Stribley

Subway Poems

Over a couple of years, I wrote a series of subway poems. Here they are now all together. Like train cars lined up neatly in a row.

Robert Stribley
4 min readApr 6, 2018


Illustration by Helena Jepsen

Subway Poem 1

These skittering people on the train
Avoiding the berth of a huddled man
Fearful of his fear, his dissipation
The most helpless ever receiving the least help


Illustration by Helena Jepsen

Subway Poem 2

When the doors slid open
He left his seat and looked back
To confirm he’d left nothing behind
Though some years before he left his spirit
But did not pause to confirm its disappearance


Subway Poem 3

Her on the subway reading Jung
Eyes aflutter, though, never settling
A permanent smile, dark eyebrow arched
Betraying the flit and flicker of her mind
Copper fingers interlaced, yet trembling
Her heart astir with Spring


Subway Poem 4

Friday riders relax their bearing
Shunted homeward, slim smiles tweak their lips
Their heads turn to address and inquire
Though still isolated by the slender strings
Threading their chosen soundtrack through tender tympani
Still, more aware of the rich, heterogeneity enveloping them


Subway Poem 5

She clutches the rail with striated bird hands
Lips pressed together tight to ward off the thrusting crowd



Robert Stribley

Writer. Photographer. UXer. Creative Director. Interests: immigration, privacy, human rights, design. UX: Technique. Teach: SVA. Aussie/American. He/him.