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
Stupefy my heart to every day's monotony, Seal up my eyes, I would not look so far, Chasten my steps to peaceful regularity, Bow down my head lest I behold a star. Fill my days with work, a thousand calm necessities Leaving no moment to consecrate to hope, Girdle my thoughts within the dull circumferences Of facts which form the actual in one short hour's scope. Give me dreamless sleep, and loose night's power over me, Shut my ears to sounds only tumultuous then, Bid Fancy slumber, and steal away its potency, Or Nature wakes and strives to live again. Let each day pass, well ordered in its usefulness, Unlit by sunshine, unscarred by storm; Dower me with strength and curb all foolish eagerness — The law exacts obedience. Instruct, I will conform.