criminal element

The Journey to Hades
is not at all As you expected.
The grubby Chariot did not await;
you had to Hustle to catch it,
leaving your Peonies behind.
You could have employed Those
to counter the Fornicators
commemorating your Descent.
Do Flowers bloom in the Underworld?
You will find out Soon Enough.

"New York Subway" by Laurie Kolp

This weekend's challenge to the Real Toads features the photography of fellow Toad Laurie Kolp. Laurie's photography tells a story as surely as her words do--please be sure to check out her photos and her poems.


  1. You have created an amazing poem from this picture: the gateway to Hades is not what I expected. I love the way you have highlighted several words with the capital letter. This gives a Dickinson-like feel to the end product.

  2. Love this, Marian. I have a similar feeling about the picture, as I think the scene dirty and quite eerie. I was really surprised how deserted the place was (and I did this alone!) Thank you for taking part.

    1. hi Laurie, your photos are all wonderful. i've never seen the subway so empty, but i guess that's because i'm usually on a train with other people. love it! :)

  3. What an interesting story you have told about this photo.....way cool, kiddo!

  4. Hmmm, I wonder if the journey to Hades would be so deserted. Methinks the train might be full to overflowing. But hopefully you are right...few people heading down! (Only the worst of the worst.)

  5. This is so clever and unexpected. I love it!

  6. Lauie's photo of the 7th Avenue line is eerily quiet and antiseptic.
    What a powerful poem it inspired! The road to Hades is by definition personal and solitary.
    This is perhaps not what you intended, but for me your words brought to mind cattle cars the Nazis deployed to transport "undesirables" to what at the time were unknown destinations. It turns out that Hades would qualify. The displaced, like your traveler had no time to select keepsakes and peonies would not have survived the trip.
    Dark,I know. Your poem is so carefully crafted and forboding in its tone--this is where it lead me.

  7. Hell is the place we ask for; wry and witty, and just the right bit of darkness around the edges.

  8. not peonies, only pomegranates
    so sorry

    but, gosh! What a lovely note you drop along the path.

  9. There is a desolation in the photo that you have captured well in your words.

  10. Awesome, Marian, especially "Soon Enough"...very awesome.

  11. How scary! What a dreadful journey you would expect this to be. I love your description in realistic terms.

  12. thanks, everyone. you know, i enjoy riding trains and i take the train to NYC regularly. i enjoy it and find the subways interesting and full of intrigue. not really sure why my brain took me in this direction based on Laurie's photo... but it could be because i've been reading Greek myths with my kids and discussing Hades and the Underworld. :)


Thank you for sharing your thoughts!