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
The Lamp of Life
Always we are following a light, Always the light recedes; with groping hands We stretch toward this glory, while the lands We journey through are hidden from our sight Dim and mysterious, folded deep in night, We care not, all our utmost need demands Is but the light, the light! So still it stands Surely our own if we exert our might. Fool! Never can'st thou grasp this fleeting gleam, Its glowing flame would die if it were caught, Its value is that it doth always seem But just a little farther on. Distraught, But lighted ever onward, we are brought Upon our way unknowing, in a dream.