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.
Amy Lowell - 1874-1925
Behind a Wall
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.