The evening was cloudy with doubt,
pouring cold water on candles
and blowing them out
with cruel gusts. Oxford Street
soaked the rain in like a sponge
and grabbed like a troll at feet
with its brightly-lit claws,
and on grabbing held tight
to fix ankles and soles to the walk.
Gray doubt spread, wet and cold,
fanning out like oil in the rain,
covered shoes, turned the brightness old
and yellow in its sad brittle grime,
and ran like molasses into the Tube
to settle on the tracks. The climb
out was hampered by a shaking off
of the doubt clinging to my laces.
Written in London, probably in October 1989 based on its location in the notebook. The rhyme scheme marks in the margin tell me I was probably trying for a sonnet. I think I was re-reading “Prufrock” a bit much that autumn.