This astute poem was first published in Poems and Sketches of E.B. White in 1981. It succinctly sums up the lives of those who spend their waking hours in thrall to employers who couldn’t care less about them.
Having done the Central London bus-train-tube commute back in the day, albeit fairly briefly, I appreciate what an ordeal city commuting can be for those of us that aren’t wired that way.
E.B. White, by all accounts a shy, pensive and reclusive soul, would surely have hated the commuter lifestyle in the years before he settled into his own groove as an author.
Sharing those sentiments entirely, I have been inspired to write poetry about soul-destroying commuting, compliant drudgery and oppresive wage-slavery.
My poems Bus, The Vacuum Age, Weekend Warrior, Autopilot, The Life Supreme and 101 Ways to Waste Your Life touch on these themes and are included in my Modern Madness poetry collection, available in paperback and ebook.
Commuter — one who spends his life In riding to and from his wife; A man who shaves and takes a train, And then rides back to shave again.