Part of my daily ritual entails reading an entry in Mason Currey's delightful book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. This morning, for example, I learned that the late Philip Larkin held a job as a librarian for most of his adult life, and wrote poetry in the evening, "after dinner and the dishes." Another of my daily rituals is listening to Garrison Keillor intone history notes and a poem in his pleasing baritone on "The Writer's Almanac." Today's poem happened to be by Philip Larkin. I thought, What are the odds of that? Currey's book describes the work habits of 161 individuals, only some of whom are poets, and Keillor draws on centuries' worth of verse. It was the kind of coincidence that opens a rational person such as myself to mystic possibilities.
Larkin's poem, called "Travellers," did the same. It evoked strangers on a train, and hinted at their potential destiny with each other, while they, "islanded in unawareness," hurtled to their destinations.