Written by Danforth Operator Rich Anton


Written by Danforth Operator Rich Anton

I’m a Toronto subway driver
And I’ve learned to speak
A universal language
By lifting both my cheeks.
I can speak Italian,
Farsi and Maltese,
Urdu, Mandarin,
And a little Sudanese.
I speak of warmth and friendliness,
I think it’s still in style.
Communication without words,
I speak with just a smile.

5 Questions with TTC’s subway poet Rich Anton

Q: What/who inspired you to write this poem?

A: My many years of service in the TTC gave me the experience to write this poem. The inspiration came when I was enjoying a quiet moment while guarding (operating the doors of the train). 

Q: How long did it take to write?

A: I wrote the rough draft in about an hour. Then I came back to it for editing. This probably took another half hour to an hour.

Q: Is poetry a hobby?

A: Poetry is definitely a hobby and has been since I was a teenager. I’m not as prolific as I used to be, but when I was operating out of Wilson Division I had six of my poems published in three different magazines. One went belly-up shortly after publishing my work. I tell myself that was entirely coincidental.

Q: Who is your favourite writer/poet?

A: My favourite authors are ones with a powerful message of hope, inspiration and spirituality. One of my favourites is Leo Buscaglia.

Q: What do you like most about operating in the subway?

A: I like many things about operating the subway. I enjoy moving people from A to B in an efficient, courteous, safe and environmentally friendly way. I enjoy special moments with the public – be it helping a tourist at Kipling who just got off the Airport Rocket, or waving goodbye to a toddler when I’m guarding, and having them wave back. I like having time alone to chill in my cab, and I like shooting the breeze with my many funny and interesting co-workers at the TTC.

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