A Poem Inspired by MU4

by John Koot, Newton Resident and Housing Poet Laureate

Once upon a midweek gloomy
As I sat, my old eyes rheumy,
Sat and pondered, staring at my parlor floor,
Suddenly there came a thumping,
On my porch I heard a bumping,
Bumping on my stout front door.

From my chair then slow arising,
Disquieted by such surprising
Noises from outside my door,
I approached and flung it open,
Searching, yes, and vainly hopin’
For a package, nothing more;
Through the sodden, foggy vapor
I espied a rolled newspaper,
Lying on my worn porch floor.

As I bent down, my knee joints creakin’
I felt my lumbar region weaken;
Still I managed one swift grab,
And in my hand held tightly
What mine eye perceived, quite rightly,
Was in fact the Newton Tab.
Though I lacked a helpful minion,
I found the section called “Opinion,”
With mention rife of MU4.

In first a column, then a letter,
Each author claimed it would be better
For this city we adore
To adopt— in fact embrace—
To make the whole a modern place,
By employing widely (this was not said snidely),
The designation MU4.
So I sought out a goodly maven, steeped in arcane zoning lore,
Sought him out as I had often done before.
“Tell me, maven, I implore: must we succumb to MU4?”
Quoth the maven, “Nevermore.”

“Will there be a resurrection
Near the busy intersection
At Newtonville’s commercial core?
Can we believe some redirection
Will with certainty achieve perfection,
Silencing the traffic’s roar,
If around it, tall and looming,
An entire neighborhood entombing,
Rise towers on the block of Mr. Orr?”
Groaned the maven, “Nevermore!”

“Tell me frankly, ancient mentor:
Will it be in Newton Centre
That we should look for an encore?
In the leafy, tranquil Highlands
Must we soon see traffic islands,
Never needed heretofore,
Buildings rising ever taller,
Landlords squeezing the last dollar
From properties zoned MU4?”
Moaned the maven, “Nevermore!”

“Must we residents sit passive
As structures whose scale is massive,
Rising ever skyward, soar?
Must we live in apprehension
Of their continuous extension
Along each transportation corridor?”
The maven murmured, “Nevermore!”

“Will you, dear maven, not take pity
And reveal how we may save our city
From the curse of MU4,
Which many citizens deplore?”

The designation MU4.
So I sought out a goodly maven, steeped in arcane zoning lore,
Sought him out as I had often done before.
“Tell me, maven, I implore: must we succumb to MU4?”
Quoth the maven, “Nevermore.”

“Will there be a resurrection
Near the busy intersection
At Newtonville’s commercial core?
Can we believe some redirection
Will with certainty achieve perfection,
Silencing the traffic’s roar,
If around it, tall and looming,
An entire neighborhood entombing,
Rise towers on the block of Mr. Orr?”
Groaned the maven, “Nevermore!”

“Tell me frankly, ancient mentor:
Will it be in Newton Centre
That we should look for an encore?
In the leafy, tranquil Highlands
Must we soon see traffic islands,
Never needed heretofore,
Buildings rising ever taller,
Landlords squeezing the last dollar
From properties zoned MU4?”
Moaned the maven, “Nevermore!”

“Must we residents sit passive
As structures whose scale is massive,
Rising ever skyward, soar?

Saying naught, he as though by chance,
Marked a page in the ordinance
Which he had taken from a drawer.
“If I perceive your sage advice,
Zones BU1 and BU2 suffice
To give us all we want, and more!
If we employ those categories,
Forbidding heights beyond four stories,
Shall we e’er have need of MU4?”
The maven snorted: “Nevermore!”

©John Koot 2017