In Darkness

Amy Lowell - 1874-1925
          Must all of worth be travailled for, and those
           Life's brightest stars rise from a troubled sea?
           Must years go by in sad uncertainty
          Leaving us doubting whose the conquering blows,
          Are we or Fate the victors? Time which shows
           All inner meanings will reveal, but we
           Shall never know the upshot. Ours to be
          Wasted with longing, shattered in the throes,
           The agonies of splendid dreams, which day
           Dims from our vision, but each night brings back;
          We strive to hold their grandeur, and essay
           To be the thing we dream. Sudden we lack
          The flash of insight, life grows drear and gray,
           And hour follows hour, nerveless, slack.

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?