With green stagnant eyes, arms and legs loose ends of string in a wind, keep smiling at your father.
From Rhythms II, published in 1919. This poem is in the public domain.
The stars are hidden,
the lights are out;
the tall black houses
are ranked about.
I beat my fists
on the stout doors,
no answering steps
come down the floors.
The city breaks in houses to the sea, uneasy with waves,
And the lonely sun clashes like brass cymbals.
In the streets truck-horses, muscles sliding under the steaming hides,
Pound the sparks flying about their hooves;
And fires, those gorgeous beasts, squirm in the furnaces,
Under the looms weaving us.
It had been long dark, though still an hour before supper-time. The boy stood at the window behind the curtain. The street under the black sky was bluish white with snow. Across the street, where the lot sloped to the pavement, boys and girls were going down on sleds. The boys were after him because he was a Jew. At last his father and mother slept. He got up and dressed. In the hall he took out his sled and went out on tiptoe. No one was in the street. The slide was worn smooth and slippery--just right. He laid himself down on his sled and shot away.