11/7/12 – Christian Siason

On Wednesday, November 7th, I performed The Cabdriver’s Smile by Denise Levertov. When I first read the poem to myself, I found it to be pretty straightforward; I thought that Levertov was alluding to the fact that even though we might not really consider it, people like cab drivers might have a very interesting life story. We only view them as people who provide services for us, but we don’t really know about their lives.

As straightforward as I found the poem to be, there was one part that didn’t really register with me until we discussed it in class: “Something like spun steel floats invisible, until questions strike it, all round him, the way light gleams webs among grass in fall.” The spun steel was the wall the cab driver put up between himself and the passenger. He was a “tough guy,” as Levertov stated when opening the poem, and he likely didn’t care much for interacting with passengers, and thus, he put up an emotional barrier between himself and his passengers. It wasn’t really noticeable, though, until the passenger asked him questions. I really liked this analogy, for some reason. I just really appreciated Levertov’s creativity in describing the interaction between driver and passenger.

The thing that surprised me most about performing this poem was the fact that I really wasn’t nervous at all. I don’t know if I seemed like I was, but I know I didn’t feel any nerves at all. Normally I’m not very good at public speaking. I tend to clam up, and my nerves get the best of me. This time, however, I felt completely at home. I was expecting to get nervous as I usually do, but I didn’t, and I was pretty happy about that.