Behind a Wall

- 1874-1925
          I own a solace shut within my heart,
           A garden full of many a quaint delight
           And warm with drowsy, poppied sunshine; bright,
          Flaming with lilies out of whose cups dart
              Shining things
              With powdered wings.

          Here terrace sinks to terrace, arbors close
           The ends of dreaming paths; a wanton wind
           Jostles the half-ripe pears, and then, unkind,
          Tumbles a-slumber in a pillar rose,
              With content
              Grown indolent.

          By night my garden is o'erhung with gems
           Fixed in an onyx setting. Fireflies
           Flicker their lanterns in my dazzled eyes.
          In serried rows I guess the straight, stiff stems
              Of hollyhocks
              Against the rocks.

          So far and still it is that, listening,
           I hear the flowers talking in the dawn;
           And where a sunken basin cuts the lawn,
          Cinctured with iris, pale and glistening,
              The sudden swish
              Of a waking fish.

More by Amy Lowell

A London Thoroughfare. 2 A.M.


They have watered the street,
It shines in the glare of lamps, 
Cold, white lamps, 
And lies
Like a slow-moving river,
Barred with silver and black.
Cabs go down it,
One,
And then another,
Between them I hear the shuffling of feet.
Tramps doze on the window-ledges,
Night-walkers pass along the sidewalks.
The city is squalid and sinister,
With the silver-barred street in the midst,
Slow-moving,
A river leading nowhere.

Opposite my window,
The moon cuts,
Clear and round,
Through the plum-coloured night.
She cannot light the city:
It is too bright.
It has white lamps,
And glitters coldly.

I stand in the window and watch the
   moon.
She is thin and lustreless,
But I love her.
I know the moon, 
And this is an alien city.

Opal

You are ice and fire,
The touch of you burns my hands like snow.
You are cold and flame.
You are the crimson of amaryllis,
The silver of moon-touched magnolias.
When I am with you,
My heart is a frozen pond
Gleaming with agitated torches.

The Taxi

When I go away from you
The world beats dead 
Like a slackened drum.
I call out for you against the jutted stars
And shout into the ridges of the wind.
Streets coming fast,
One after the other,
Wedge you away from me,
And the lamps of the city prick my eyes
So that I can no longer see your face.
Why should I leave you,
To wound myself upon the sharp edges of the night?